CARACAS, Venezuela -- Heads of state and government of the member countries of ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of our America) and PetroCaribe met on Tuesday evening in Caracas in a second combined summit of ALBA-PetroCaribe under the chairmanship of President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.
The summit addressed strengthening the institutional mechanisms governing the integration process of Latin America and the Caribbean. In this regard, the heads deliberated on the proposal for the establishment of a complementary economic zone among the countries of ALBA, PetroCaribe, CARICOM and MERCOSUR.
Maduro said the regional bloc has risen above economic and political spheres to become a truly human integration mechanism.
“PetroCaribe has transcended the energy sphere, spreading out to economic, commercial, cultural, humanity and political areas,” he told journalists.
The creation of the exclusive economic zone was proposed by Maduro during the ALBA summit held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in July.
Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda are all ALBA members.
PetroCaribe, formed in 2005, comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela.
Meanwhile Suriname’s foreign minister, Winston Lackin, said that the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) will join ALBA and PetroCaribe in the mission of forming an economic zone and ensuring food security in the region.
“As president pro tempore of UNASUR, I want to express that we will take this idea and we will send it to all members of the body,” Lackin said.
Suriname has held the pro-tempore presidency of UNASUR since August.