Leaders at the second Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit. CELAC photo
HAVANA, Cuba -- Regional blocs in the Caribbean and Latin America have shown a spirit of solidarity and cooperation that represents a "new expression of integration," the head of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) said on Tuesday.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), reinforces and extends ties between ALBA member countries and other mechanisms for regional cooperation, such as Petrocaribe, said ALBA Secretary-General Bernardo Alvarez.
"The founding principle of ALBA, CELAC and Petrocaribe is the new institutional structure, the new expression of integration," he said in an interview with Venezuela-based TV news network Telesur in Havana.
Alvarez, who also heads Petrocaribe, said Cuba and Venezuela were the driving forces behind the creation of CELAC, a regional bloc of 33 member countries founded in February 2010.
He also underscored the significance of Petrocaribe, a mechanism that supplies Venezuelan oil at preferential prices and on soft credit terms to countries in the region.
Without Petrocaribe, Alvarez said, "regional countries could hardly have overcome the impacts of capitalism's economic crisis."
CELAC, the result of a decade-long push for deeper integration within the Americas, seeks to deepen political, economic, social and cultural integration in Latin America and the Caribbean.