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Alba Case Study

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An example of South South cooperation:

The ALBA-TCP Agreement
The Bolivarian Alliance for People of Our America and the People’s Trade Treaty

Case Study in International Negotiations
Faculdade de Economia
Universidade de Coimbra

Irene Padovese

2. Pre-negotiations and historical context……………………………………………………….
3.The Negotiation process………………………………………………………………………. a. Negotiations I…………………………………………………………………………….. b. Negotiations II…………………………………………………………………………….
4. Summitry and multilateralism…………………………………………………………………
5. Impasse on Negotiation: The case of Honduras……………………………………….......
6. Asymmetries and Behaviour: Hugo Chavèz…………………………………………………
7. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………
8. Bibliography………………………………………………………………………………………………

Introduction 1. Definition ALBA defines itself as "the Latin American option that fights for the autodetermination and sovereignty of people of its regions", especially, against of what they define "all the imperialistic politics of United States of America". (Alianza Bolivariana para nuestros pueblos de America, 2004) In other words, it is an integration platform that focuses on solidarity, complementarity, justice and cooperation between countries of Latin America that want to achieve together the level of "integral development through its own alternative way, in the middle of the increasing formation of regional predominant blocks in the world". (ALBA, 2010). This aim was initially reached thanks to the efforts of two countries, Venezuela and Cuba, that in December 2004 joined to put into real words their intentions to create a southern cooperative alliance. That alliance should mainly oppose to the politics of the Free Trade Area of Americas, imposed ten years before by U.S. officials, in the Summit of Americas, in Miami, December 1994. To complete this first brief description, the Alianza Bolivariana itself was first conceived as an "integral process that ensures social equality and promotes the quality of life and an effective participation of the people in shaping their destiny". (ALBA, 2004) To say it all, it is clearly a political process more than an economic one.
Despite difficulties, ALBA’s development continued from 2004 to nowadays. It still is a "work in progress": after Cuba and Venezuela, also other countries such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, San Vicente and Antigua joined and negotiate a wide range of joint declarations about energy, health, culture and much more. In 2006, when Bolivia’s leader Evo Morales met Venezuela and Cuba’s heads of State, the still-called Alternativa Bolivariana (the name changed in 2009, from Alternativa Bolivariana to Alianza Bolivariana) was enriched by the so called People’s Trade Agreement (TCP in Spanish) . It is considered the trade arm of ALBA and promotes a different way of trading in the region, in order to defeat the bilateral trade imposed by FTAA. (ALBA-TCP, 2009)
In a context in which FTAA seems to have already stalled (Nick Miroff, 2009), a great number of integration platforms have been created in South America, which have been included under the name of "Regional Alternatives". From MERCOSUR to UNASUR, they all represent a challenge to the U.S.-led integration. However, it must be said that the Venezuelan-centered ALBA is potentially a much more radical challenge to neoliberalism than the Brazilian centered UNASUR or Mercosur, and a more acclaimed solution towards integration than the Andean Community of Nations(CAN). 2. State of the art
Much has been written and theorized about what is part of this Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. The great part of literature review focuses on the debate of what exactly constitutes the alliance, which kind of programs, agreements or joint ventures falls under its great umbrella (Michael Fox, 2006). According to who is part of the structure-building, ALBA includes everything from bilateral agreements signed between Venezuela, Argentina or other countries to Funds of Haiti and more, since they are all agreements signed under the framework of ALBA. Where there is no will of impose strict conditions, and as long it includes flexible logic, regional focus and components of solidarity, then it is an agreement part of ALBA. (Carlos Oliva, 2006).
On the other hand, there is another debate going on about the real essence of ALBA: if it is a mechanism of multilateral cooperation or if it just a great proposal of integration that was needed to oppose vehemently to U.S. policies. (Josè Briceno Ruiz, 2011). There is who, like Josette Altmann Borbòn (2011), thinks that the ALBA countries know that integration is something part of their own history and despite the difficulties, they are trying to promote a different Alliance that is able to diversify the relations between countries in a more balanced way. In general, regional analysis has been widely applied to the ALBA frame work, both trying to highlight the goals that this kind of integration reached and the difficulties they will have in challenging the "postulated international theory" (Eugenio Espinosa, Josette Altmann Borbòn, 2011).
There is also who includes the implementation of Bolivarian Project in the framework of the rise of the Third World movements (Matthew Siano, 2012), recalling for the idea of internationalist nationalism. International nationalism was a theory for the construction of nations within the Third World movement, which built itself upon “the history of their struggle against colonialism, and their program for the creation of justice”(Prishad, 2012) , and ALBA is named after Simon Bolivàr, the Venezuelan revolutionary leader that helped liberate countries from Spanish rule. ALBA is, under this framework, an alternative way to define nationalisms.
Moreover, the greatest part of the opinion given on ALBA focuses on the comparative analysis between ALBA-TCP and FTAA, especially from an economic point of view. Many authors and journalists have tried to analyse in which sense one is an improvement or a failure towards the other, reaching different conclusions depending on the personal beliefs.

This essay wants to see ALBA under another light. Negotiation processes of this treaty of cooperation have not been analysed well at all, and I personally think that the leadership of Hugo Chavez and Venezuela ambitions in its foreign policy has much to do with the achievements of the Alliance. I would assume that the Alliance was born as a bilateral agreement and then became multilateral with the admission of Bolivia in 2006. But still, it remains "trilateral" even with the admission of the other five countries from 2006 to 2011, since the process is clearly backed by the leadership of Hugo Chavèz, Fidel Castro and Evo Morales. Looking into the relationships between this leaders, at their internal politics related with the foreign ones, maybe another essence of the agreement can be found and it can be explained why this negotiations were much more successful than the other integration solution ones.
2. Pre-negotiations and historical context
The whole historical background of ALBA is founded on the ideas of South American heroes like Bolivàr, Martì, Sucre, Sandino, and many others. The idea of Simón Bolívar was to establish the "Gran Colombia" from what today are Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. In this, Bolívar envisioned one powerful Latin American nation, subordinate to the will of one maximum caudillo and stronger in its opposition to the United States (Joel D. Hirst, 2011). It was, as Bolívar believed, the only way South America would be able to stand up and prosper in the face of what he could see would be a powerful giant and rival to the north.
It also has to be said that the embryonic idea of the Agenda of Alternativa Bolivariana was formulated first by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, in August 2000, when a referendum gave him back the legitimacy and he was elected after having spent many years in jail. Chavez himself called the project "Proyecto Nacional Simòn Bolivar" (Alberto Garrido, 2005) and spoke about how to create the best conditions for the transition from the old national system to a new one based on completely new principles, in less than 20 years. Despite all the debate about how all this measures (denationalization, focus on poorer people, reforming the bureaucratic system, etc.. ) can be assumed as populist or not, the Proyecto Simòn Bolivàr was without any doubt the first national framework in which the idea of ALBA has grown.
Starting from there, the real agreement finds its origins not only in the first years of Hugo Chavez’s political career but also in his contacts with the cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Pre negotiations are fundamental to find any kind of consensus and are the spam of activities in which the parties move to solve a mutual problem or find a joint solution for cooperation (Zartman, 2007). It can be said that pre-negotiations in this case started with a first meeting in La Havana, between Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, in 1994. Both leaders stated out their complete opposition to the implementation of FTAA, whose outlines were also being laid out in Miami in the same months, during the First Summit of Americas.
Six years later, in the III Summit of Americas, in Quèbec, Canada, from April 20th to the 22nd ,the president Hugo Chavez signed the Final Declaration pointing out that Venezuela was opposed to the offer of FTAA and in December of the same year, in the framework of the III Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Association of Caribbean States, celebrated in Margarita island in Venezuela, the President Hugo Chávez put forward the idea of ALBA, as a proposal for an integral, economic, social, political and cultural integration of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA, 2010). The ideological basis was settled down.
Also in cooperative-aimed negotiations, prenegotiations are about identifying a problem, setting the alternatives and find solutions (Zartman, 2007). To understand this, there are three overarching ideas in which the Alliance was settled down. (D. Hirst Joel, A Guide to ALBA, 2011): 1. Conflict institutionalization: Countries are supposed to choose sides between the two possible alternatives: ALBA alternative or the United States freemarket capitalism. Internationally, the idea is to eliminate conflagrations between South American countries. (Problem) 2. 21st century Socialism: the alternative is about a new economic and political model that goes beyond representative democracy and separation of powers. (Solution) 3. International Revolution: support of the radical revolutionary processes inside member countries and their implementation. (Strategies) As Berridge says, pre negotiations often start in situations in which the stalemate of a conflict is clear, and one –or both- of the parts decide that time has come to negotiate a solution. At this stage, before 2004, there were no risks in starting this kind of negotiation because both countries were agreeing on the main principles of Alternativa Bolivariana and wishing for the implementation of them as soon as possible.
Prenegotiation is also the time to convince the other party that concessions will be requited, not banked and run away with. Assurances are less risky during this phase because they are indicative of future behavior rather than commitments (Zartman, 2007 ). To fix it out, Hugo Chavez, after coming out of prison, made an historical visit to Cuba, in 1999, where in a speech at University of La Havana fixed the ideological convergence between the two countries by stating that "Venezuela is traveling towards the same sea as the Cuban people, a sea of happiness and of real social justice and peace" (Miroff Nick, 2009). Cuba, in the name of a further Cooperation Agreement signed with Venezuela in the 31st of October 2000, was just the first country in Latin America to embrace the same idea and offer its collaboration to Venezuela in order to make the idea of an Alliance grow bigger and also for Castro, close ties with Chávez’s oil-rich Venezuela represents a strong remedy for the island’s perpetually hamstrung economy.
3.The Negotiation Process
We can divide the ALBA-TCP negotiation in two phases. The first one started in December 2004 and ended with the signature of the agreement for ALBA application in April 2005. The second phase dates in 2006, April, when Bolivia joined the Agreement and the Bolivian president Evo Morales negotiated with Cuba and Venezuela not only the admission to the ALBA, but also the drafting of Peoples’ Trade Agreement, which formally became a part of the initial agreement. 1) The institutional framework of ALBA officially emerged the 14th of December 2004, when Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez met in La Havana. It is worth to repeat that that this is a case in which the two parts met not to overcome and solve a conflict, but to implement the ideological convergences that they have. Given the fact that this case study is not dealing with a conflict, we can say that it is a clear case of plain and total convergence, in which there are no big asymmetries and in which the parts were equally contemplating negotiations to reach an agreement. As a matter of fact, I will analyse the negotiation by applying the Zartman model "Formula/Detail" (Zartman, 1982) since I think is the most fitting one.
In every negotiation, there must be guidelines or "framework for agreements". As Zartman and Berridge says, the formula has to be defined and its content must show the joint perception the parties have in order to start with the process making. In this case, the "nettle of general principle was grasped immediately" (Berridge, 2005) and so when the two leaders met, the formula stage was already overcome, since there was already a common sharing of ideas.
La Havana, the place for negotiation, was chosen in memory of the celebration of the 180th anniversary of the glorious victory of Ayacucho and of the Convocation to the Anfictiónico Congress in Panama (ALBA, 2010). During the meeting, the 14 of December 2004, the formula was defined in an atmosphere of popular greeting and support in both countries (Dieterich Heinz, 2004). Chavez can count on his great popularity and on the idea of the Bolivarian Alternative he promoted, about this Alternative that could help to the redemption of the South American people; and on the other side, Castro was agreeing on the development of a former system of economic and political integration that can totally oppose to the United States power.
The outcomes of the first meeting were:
a. A Joint Declaration in which the two leaders committed themselves in the respect of the core principles of ALBA ("…We share the views that the ALBA/ DAWN must be guided by the following cardinal principles and bases to reach objectives outlined above…") (Joint Declaration, 2004). [FORMULA]
b. The Agreement for ALBA Application, based on 12 articles in which is stated the convergence between the two countries and negotiations for implementing cooperation.
Concession and convergence model was applied to this part of the agreement. This model is based on compromise and mutual understanding. Usually concession and convergence model is applied to opposite sides, in which they negotiate knowing that they will give up something in relation to their aspirations. Here, is better to speak about mutual-gains model, the cooperative alternative to this approach, in which both sides try to fulfill their interests. (Kelleher, 2000).
An example of this cooperative-aid-exchange model could be the following: Cuba, a regional leader in medicine, would send Venezuela 15,000 doctors and assist in the construction of hundreds of new medical clinics in the country as well as with the training of Venezuelan doctors both on site and through scholarships to Cuban universities. In exchange, oil-rich Venezuela would provide Cuba with discounted petroleum imports annually. Also, in a convergent effort to attract other neighboring countries to this new style of international cooperation, Venezuela and Cuba launched “Operation Miracle,” jointly offering free surgery for cataracts and other eye diseases to citizens of every nation in Latin America and the Caribbean (Harris, Azzi, 2006).

2. The negotiations for the Alliance passed from being bilateral to "multilateral" when in the III Summit, in April 2006, Bolivia expressed the will of becoming part of the Alliance. The final agreement this time included the so called People’s Trade Treaty, proposed and negotiated by Evo Morales with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro for tightening the commercial and economic relationships (Eduardo Romero, 2006).
"Convinced of the need to promote a real integration based on solidarity complementarity and humanity between our countries and peoples, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Bolivia, we want to contribute to this process with the initiative of the Trade Treaties between the Peoples by endorsing the objectives, principles and conceptual basis of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America, inscribed in the joint declaration signed in Havana, on the fourteenth of December, two thousand four, by the President of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba and the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela."
III Summit of ALBA, Accession of Bolivia.
Evo Morales recalled he history that Bolivia is sharing with Venezuela and Cuba, and, freshly elected, agreed on Venezuela and Cuba to take part of the concessions and be active part of the integration model. As an example we can mention purchasing Bolivia’s soy crop at “fair rates”, since a US trade agreement with Colombia signed in May threatened to fatally undercut Bolivia’s exports. Groups of Cuban doctors and teachers were assembled to aid Morales, in his effort to remedy his nation’s chronic inability to provide basic social services to population (Harris, Azzi, 2006).

3. Summitry and Multilateralism
Summitry is such an important feature of the international scene. Summits are of special value because they show how sides are attached to alliance solidarity. They usually promote friendly relations, clarify intentions, information gathering and also, negotiation (Berridge, 2005). The ALBA-TCP Treaty has been enriched with lots of joint and political declarations regarding how to implement common actions and reach higher levels of integration, and this aim was achieved within the institution of a serial summitry framework (Berridge, 2005). Every year, from 2006 to 2012, ALBA’S countries gathered in one of the members city to state out their joint position towards special international and domestic issues. At this stage, ALBA is being constituted by a growing number of countries and summitry can be equaled to multilateral negotiations for all the political declarations of ALBA. Serial summits are the best suited type of summitry since the greater the summit is, the greater will be the suitability of the summit for serious negotiations during the meeting. First, they educate heads of government in international realities. Secondly, these summits make package deals easier and thirdly they usually set deadlines for the completion of an existing negotiation, or a stage of an existing negotiation between parties. ALBA members also use their regular summits to define ALBA positions within international organizations where they usually vote as a block. Through their powerful lobby and financial largesse, for example, they have assumed marginal political control over the Organization of American States (OAS). This has allowed them to deflect accusations of violations to the Inter-American Democratic Charter. They have also participated in international events with some success, including congealing the effort against the Copenhagen climate accords in 2009. (Joel D. Hirts, 2011) 4. Impasse and threats: accession and expulsion of Honduras
On 25th August, 2008, the Honduran President Manuel Zelaya signed an agreement to join the ALBA, with a rally in front of the Presidential House that was attended by many of the presidents of the countries that are part of ALBA, including Chávez and Morales.
The Honduran congress – led by Roberto Micheletti, approved ALBA on 9 October 2008. But on 16 December 2009, after a violent coup d’etat, the Honduran congress met to withdraw the country from the ALBA, claiming a "lack of respect" from Venezuela’s side since the country's joining in 2008, citing in particular Hugo Chavez' remarks about a otential invasion of Honduras to restore Manuel Zelaya to office. Withdrawal from ALBA was ratified by the Honduran Congress on 13 January 2010. The situational power of Hugo Chavez was in this case extremely clear, since he put forward an intimidating diplomacy: states often need to make sure that others know enough in order to behave convenientely. Honduras was not going towards the same political line of ALBA alliance, that is why Venezuela felt the need of alarming and then deterring the new Honduran government.

5. Asymmetries and behavioural analysis: Hugo Chavez
During negotiations, it is usually worth to distinguish between structural power and situational power. In terms of resources and role in the international context, we can assume that in 2004 negotiations Venezuela and Cuba were similar. And also in terms of situational power, which is, the role the party has in the negotiation (Habeeb, 1988), at the first stage both countries were also equally committed on the creation of the Alliance.
The greatest part of negotiations are asymmetrical, depending so on the power resources or capabilities of the countries. This specific situation was governed at first by a symmetric relation between Venezuela and Cuba. But later, many weaker countries in South America joined the negotiations, so that we can not speak of symmetry anymore.
The outcomes of negotiations often has lot to do with the joint effects of preferences, personality, and specifically situational power. Generally, Hugo Chavez is the key of ALBA negotiation not only because he was the founder of the project, but because he has also some characteristics that made him be the perfect figure for negotiate and convince other countries that his was the best alternative. 1. In the multilateral context, Venezuela has the greater structural power, thanks of its own immense economic resources of oil in the continent. 2. The situational power of Hugo Chavez is also strong, because of the high level of commitment he showed in the cause of Alternativa Bolivariana, his global links and popularity and especially, his way of being assertive and a very good and charismatic communicator.
Strategically, Hugo Chavez, (but also the other two leaders Castro and Morales) are well known for making regular and very effective references in their public discourse to the long history of domination and control of their lands by foreign powers, embedding their own present struggles in a compelling narrative of resistance to colonialism and imperialism dating back more than 100 years ago. This creates without any doubt high levels of popular support in the whole continent.
Moreover, summits’ analysis showed how usually Chavez speaks at the end and after all the other presidents speeches, as he should give the last and more important word.
Finally, what really helped Hugo Chavez in his project, was the apparently search for a total win win strategy. The win win philosophy in negotiations assure that the parties should all benefit from joining the Alliance, and that is what he tried to promote by offering a different alternative to the current model of regionalism in South America. Countries that join will have best possibilities and less US dependence than before than the ones who aren’t. 6. Conclusion
Though ALBA is still far from a region-wide reality, both politicians and civil society are increasingly heralding the proposal as a concrete alternative to the neoliberal model for globalization. As such, ALBA represents not just an attractive tool of innovative new programs and ideas for the region, but also a strongly compelling and solid set of principles through which neighboring states can take advantage of international partnerships and put them directly to use for their people (Azzi, 2006). Of course, it remains to be seen if the force of such an idea will catch participation either in Latin America or elsewhere.
Negotiations for the Agreement of the Bolivarian Alliance can be seen as a apart of the Win Win Negotiation model. Chavez’ popularity across the globe has grown immensely in recent years as he has shown himself able to articulate what few other politicians have the courage to say in the face of US economic and military hegemony over the world. Whether ALBA is a model for regional integration outside of the West will maybe just depend on Chavez’ ability to show that the complex politics of regional rivalries can be submitted to serious efforts at cooperation and collaboration between nations for their development. Looking to the whole South American continent, Chavez has managed to secure only the full partnership of Cuba and Bolivia, two countries with little to lose by joining the partnership. It has to be mentioned that ALBA has found only limited connection with the governments of Brazil and Argentina, the region’s two economic giants. While there is enthusiasm to collaborate with Chávez from these two nations on the one hand, as discussed above, there is a core hesitation to take part in a union that would so blatantly offend the US, a key trading partner of both nations. These complex and contradictory relations are somewhat peculiar to the region and are a bet for the development of ALBA in the next decades.

Primary resources
ALBA (2010), "Building an interpolar world", Content of Summits 2004-2011, Publications,
ALBA (2010) , Sections: "History", "principles of ALBA", "ALBA TCP Agreement", "Structure and Operations", "Presidential Summits",
Alianza Bolivariana (2004 )Sections: "Antecedentes Historicos", "Que es el ALBA?"

EFE, (2006), "Chávez, Castro y Evo Morales afianzan su alianza como 'defensores de Latinoamérica'", Portada Internacional de El Mundo, 30 Abril

Lucita Eduardo, (2011), "El ALBA, un alineamento regional que desafia el paradigma mercantilista" source La Arena, 22 July,
Saden Emir, (2006), "Free trade in reciprocity", Le Monde Diplomatique, February,

Secondary Resources
Altmann Borbòn Josette, (2011), America Latina y el Caribe: Una nueva forma de integraciòn Regional?, Buenos Aires, 1 ed., TESEO, Flacso, Fundaciòn Carolina
Ruggirozzi Pìa, Tussie Diana, (2012) The rise of post-hegemonic Regionalism, United Nations University Series on Regionalism 4
Arreaza Theresa (2004), "ALBA: Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean", Opinion and Analysis: Bolivarian Project, January 30th ,

Heinz Dieterich, (2004), "Bolivarian project in Mortal Danger in Venezuela", Opinion and Analysis: Bolivarian Project, June 12th,
Medina Tahina Ojeda, (2012), "7 years from creation of ALBA-TCP", Opinion and Analysis: Bolivarian Project, 7th May,

Miroff Nick, (2009), "The Rise of southern Axis", The Global Post, December 17

Joint Communication, (2006), "L’incontro tra i tre presidenti di Nuestra America, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez e Evo Morales",

Siano Matthew, (2012), "The Bolivarian Revolution in the Third World context movement", Opinion and analysis, June 26th,

Fox Michael (2006), "Defining the Bolivarian Alternative for Americas", 9th August,

Muhr Thomas (2012), "Reconstructing popular power in our America: Venezuela and regionalization of revolutionary democracy in the ALBA-TCP", Third World Quarterly, vol. 33, Issue 2
De la Barra Ximena, Dello Buono R.A., (2012),"NACLA Report on Americas", vol 45, Issue 2, p. 32-36, 5p
Carlos A. Romero, (2010), "South South cooperation between Venezuela and Cuba", extract from Special Report of South South Cooperation 2010
Arellano Felix Gerardo, (2009), " Nacimiento, Evoluciòn y Perspectivas de la Alianza Bolivariana para los pueblos de Nuestra America", Scholar paper, Friederich Ebert Stiftung.
Harris David, Azzi Diego (2006), "ALBA: Venezuela’s answer to free trade: the Bolivarian Alternative for Our Americas" , Alec Bemford and Nicola Bullard editors, Focus on Global South

[ 2 ]. Conflicts between neighbourous, such as Ecuador with and Venezuela with Colombia, Venezuela with most neighbourous and all of them with the United States.
[ 3 ]. Who later became Zelaya's main political enemy, and president of the interim government after the 2009 Honduran coup d'état.

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