Thursday, February 12, 2015

Map: ALBA Has 2 New Member Countries

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Map of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), showing full member countries, including new members Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis, as well as special guest members (colorblind accessible).
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). Map by Evan Centanni.

Emblem of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA)Organization Name:  
• Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (Spanish)
• Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (English)
Launched: 2004 in Havana, Cuba
Headquarters: Caracas, Venezuela
Article by Karina Barquet and Evan Centanni

Membership Growth
On December 14, 2014, three days after its 10th anniversary, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) welcomed two new member countries: Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis

ALBA's other nine member countries are Venezuela, Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Honduras joined as a member state in 2008, but withdrew in 2010 following a coup d’état against President Manuel Zelaya the previous year.

Related: Grenada Recognizes Kosovo as Independent

What is ALBA?
ALBA is an intergovernmental organization working toward social, political, and economic integration for Latin America and the Caribbean, founded in 2004 through the efforts of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. He presented it as an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a U.S.-led initiative that came up against heavy opposition and was eventually abandoned.

In 2005, ALBA members established PetroCaribe, a program for preferential oil trade between countries of the region, and teleSUR, a television service intended to compete with U.S networks. By 2009, leaders agreed to adopt a currency called the SUCRE (Unified System for Regional Compensation) as an alternative to the U.S. dollar for international trading.

"America" or "Americas"?
In English, "America" almost always means the U.S., and the continents of North and South America are called "the Americas" (Canadians don't even call themselves "Americans"). 

However, in Latin America there is a popular conception that "America" should mean the two whole continents (Spanish América does mean exactly that).

ALBA's official English name, "Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America", may have been chosen as an intentional challenge to the perceived domination of the term "America" by the U.S.

The New Member Countries
The newest ALBA member is Grenada, a former French and British colony made up of one large island and six smaller ones in the southeastern Caribbean. Saint Kitts and Nevis is a federation of two islands in the northeastern area of the Caribbean, and the smallest independent country in the Americas by both area and population.

Both new ALBA members are Commonwealth realms, with Queen Elizabeth II as their formal head of state. Countries awaiting full incorporation into ALBA include Haiti, currently an observer country, and Suriname, which holds "guest member" status.

See Also: Saint Lucia Joins ALBA

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