On 27 July in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to discuss issues of economic integration and food sovereignty, as well as indigenous and Afro-descent populations in Member States. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa met ahead of the summit for the first bilateral meeting since Chávez`s death. In 2009, the Bloc introduced Sugar, a virtual currency used for exchanges between members and came into force the following year. Electronic money, abbreviated as the “Single Regional Clearing System”, would also circumvent the use of the US dollar. Transactions are carried out between central banks. This year, member countries carried out 1500 transactions worth 550 million sugar, or $670 million. Although not a member of ALBA, Uruguay applied to join the system in March 2013 to use the regional currency. In addition, large-scale resource production is ecologically destructive, both in terms of its direct impact on local ecologies and the overall impact it has on climate change. Since ALBA has identified itself as the protector of “Mother Earth” and as an organization that wants to help its members achieve “integral development”, the maintenance of the “extractiveist” economic model in its territories seems contradictory. This contradiction is illustrated by the rift between indigenous organizations and the Correa government in Ecuador, and particularly in the deadly clashes in Bolivia over the construction of a mega-highway through the Amazon. The agreement was proposed by the Venezuelan government led by Hugo Chávez as an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA or ALCA in Spanish, an agreement proposed by the United States), which had been rejected by some Latin American countries. [Citation required] As for the immediate effects, ALBA is often accused of derailing the proposed and now abandoned US Free Trade Area (FTAA/ALCA). The EAFTA was a proposed free trade agreement, led by the U.S.
government, that attempted to create a broad hemispheric free trade area. Critics saw it as a step that, as in NAFTA, would only benefit the rich and powerful. Initially, the FTAA proposal practically progressed without a vote against. .
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