During the opening of Monday’s historical joint virtual meeting of the 20th Political Council and 10th Council of Economic Complementation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America-People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela proposed a Post COVID-19 Economic Contingency Plan, putting emphasis on the reactivation of PetroCaribe and the Bank of ALBA.
Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza pointed out that the draft contains the proposals made by presidents and prime ministers of member countries, as well as special guests, at the Conference on Post-pandemic Economy held on June 10, so that ALBA-TCP “does not just stand by as an spectator or in a defensive position, but rather takes up an offensive stance of coordination to foresee the effects of the pandemic on our economies.”
In this regard, Arreaza pointed out that Venezuela’s proposal envisages the reactivation of ALBA-Health and ALBA-Food. He explained that ALBA-Health program includes the articulation of health systems at the highest level of coordination, the creation of a bank of medicines, supplies, tests and a bank of vaccines against COVID-19 once clinical trials developed by different countries, in coordination with the World Health Organization, are effective.
ALBA-Health also foresees the creation of a health observatory to monitor the evolution and burden on medical services in member countries to continue strengthening the training of health professionals, said the Venezuelan foreign minister.
The eight-point proposal provides for the strengthening of intra-ALBA transportation as the backbone of trade and traveler exchange, guaranteeing the free circulation of funds through local currency compensation and the use of cryptocurrencies, and promoting a common strategy for economic development through the boost of the Council of Economic Complementation.
The Venezuelan diplomat also mentioned a proposal to create an ALBA-TCP International Humanitarian Fund as a measure of relief from natural disasters impacting island nations.
Reactivation of PetroCaribe
Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela’s economy vice-president, said that the plan proposed by Venezuela aims to lay the foundations for a new post COVID-19 beginning from ALBA-TCP “towards the construction of a real, productive, concrete economy.”
El Aissami explained that Venezuela bets on the reactivation of PetroCaribe, which celebrates its 15th anniversary on Monday, June 29, and the Bank of ALBA as “the two strong, powerful arms of the regional integration mechanism.”
He also said that Venezuela has devised a new formula to relaunch PetroCaribe by taking advantage of its existing capabilities, “a new energy architecture having a direct impact on the standard of living of our peoples.”
The virtual meeting was attended by Venezuela’s Economy and Finance Minister Simón Serpa, President of the Central Bank of Venezuela Calixto Ortega, PDVSA’s Vice-president of International Affairs and Vice-minister for Latin America Rander Peña, and President of the Bank of ALBA and Vice-minister for the Caribbean Raúl Li Causi.
ALBA-TCP is comprised by Venezuela and Cuba as founding members, and Nicaragua, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, y Saint Kitts and Nevis.