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Venezuela, Alba, and the Limits of Postneoliberal Regionalism in Latin America and the Caribbean

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This book provides a comprehensive account of the functioning and impact of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) in South America. The emergence of ALBA in 2004, with its regional social programmes, state multinationals, development bank, people-focused trade framework, virtual currency, and oil-backed development financing, has offered a radical challenge to US-backed plans for a hemispheric trade agreement along neoliberal lines. Critically analyzing this attempt at reinforcing endogenous development in Venezuela, Ecuador, and the Eastern Caribbean, the author highlights the difficulties inherent in implementing alternative “postneoliberal” initiatives in South America: The most transformative ALBA projects have become bogged down between hybrid political economies that are as conflictive as cooperative. Ceding of sovereignty to international institutions limits progress towards autonomy. Participation is overstated, utility underplayed, accountability ignored, and capacity weak – yet these very issues, particularly in Venezuela, leave ALBA’s future hanging in the balance.

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