Venezuelan Minister for Culture, Fidel Barbarito, confirmed Tuesday the commitment of the Culture ministers of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) to deepen, strengthen and implement action plans in order to preserve the cultural sovereignty of the region.
"We have signed a statement saying we will work towards a closer integration of our peoples, that is the spirit under which commanders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez agreed to create this multilateral body, later increased by new countries of the region," Culture minister said following the fifth meeting of culture ministers of ALBA, held Tuesday at Venezuela's University of Arts (Uneartes), in downtown Caracas.
He explained that following an assessment made on the actions of Cultural ALBA for the past three years, ministers reached consensus on focusing efforts on four key stages: training, trade of cultural goods and services, communication and mobility for artists, cultural practitioners and intellectuals across all member countries.
In fact, five years ago the first ALBA cultural house was inaugurated in Havana, Cuba, as part of the network of cultural houses to be built in member countries. "Venezuela's cultural house is already being completed in the city of Barinas. The third one, will be in La Paz, Bolivia."
"They will work as the center of decision-making and action of Cultural ALBA, and host our artists, intellectuals and researchers so they can work directly with communities of those countries. They will be a place to promote our cultural heritage, books, crafts, music, movies and more," he declared.
In this sense, the statement puts forward a work plan that sets as one of its first objectives, the appointment of ALBA cultural coordinators in member countries, "for them to be engaged in tracking and deepen coordination with popular and cultural movements of each region." So he announced that next November, these coordinators will meet in Caracas and the next meeting of cultural ministers will be in September 2015, in Havana, Cuba.
"In this process we will be developing joint activities with these regional coordinators to show ministers in September 2015, a 65-action plan discussed today," he added. A set of policies aimed at "the promotion of cultural rights through exchange, knowledge and our own recognition as bearers of the Latin American and Caribbean identity."
Cultural ALBA is rebuild ties
Philbert Aaron, Dominica's ambassador in Venezuela who attended the meeting, stressed that mechanisms such as ALBA deepen integration in the region.
"It's about starting to rebuild the ties that bound us and were destroyed by colonization and slavery. That is the greatest mission left by Bolivar and commander Hugo Chavez. That is why we appreciate the friendship that strengthens the relationship between Dominica and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela," he said.
For his part, Pablo Grouz, culture minister of Bolivia said the meeting spaces are needed to revitalize these instances that are mobilizing peoples in Latin America.
"The Cultural ALBA has achieved specific results in each of the member countries. It is expanding not only geographically and governmentally speaking, but also calling for a better reuse of our resources," he said.
Furthermore, culture and heritage vice-minister of Ecuador, Alberto Gordillo, spoke highly of the achievements in the field of exchange and engagement with ALBA governments. He stressed the importance of appointing regional coordinators in each of the countries; and the creation of cultural houses, which will "make decision-making processes more dynamic."