In a June 13 statement, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa announced that his government has decided not to join the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), the integration initiative led by Venezuela. The statement said Ecuador would continue to pursue regional integration through the OAS and Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
In a December 2006 joint declaration signed in Caracas, Correa conditioned Ecuadoran participation in ALBA on the return of Venezuela to the Andean Community. Venezuela had left that body earlier in 2006 after Colombia and Peru signed free trade agreements with the US. (VenezuelAnalysis, Dec. 22, 2006) Despite pressure from Ecuador, it has made no move to return. With the outcome of the US election still uncertain and Ecuador poised to receive $150 million this year from the Inter-American Development Bank, observers reckon Correa may want to put the brakes on his government’s estrangement from Washington. (NowPublic, EFE, June 13)