The eight-nation Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) is moving quickly to expand, as its leaders have approved a new economic integration system for the grouping, dubbed ECOALBA.
The group has indicated that it is prepared to admit Haiti and has received membership requests from two more CARICOM states.
The bloc, which was inspired by Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez, agreed to establish ECOALBA last night, despite reservations by Vincentian prime minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, one of ALBA’s three CARICOM leaders.
Suriname and St Lucia, whose leaders are attending the summit, have also asked to join the grouping. Haiti was being admitted Sunday as ALBA’s ninth member and the fourth CARICOM member state to join the bloc.
Prime Minister Gonsalves, yesterday, described a plan for creating a “single economic space” as a “possible way forward” through “a dangerous phase” of the world economy. He urged the grouping to work out legal and administrative details before proceeding with ECOALBA.
ECOALBA, which is being projected as an alternative to trade and economic links dominated by the United States and the dollar, emphasises bartering and payments among ALBA members through a virtual currency, the Sucre.