Latin American Trade Bloc Turns Back on Dollar

      October 19, 2009 11:10

      The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), an association of the Latin American trade bloc, agreed to stop using U.S. dollars for regional commerce from next year, AP reported Saturday.

      The leaders of the nine ALBA members met in Cochabamba, Bolivia on Friday and Saturday and agreed to introduce a new currency, the Unified Regional Compensation System or SUCRE, early next year. SUCRE is a virtual currency and there will be no bills issued in SUCRE. It will be used for electronic payment, and each country can withdraw the equivalent in its own currency.

      ALBA countries hope to develop SUCRE into something like the euro, and use it commercially in trade with countries outside the bloc. But the nine leaders could not agree when they will start doing that.

      SUCRE is the name of the Ecuadorian currency used until 2000, when it was replaced by the dollar. It is named after Venezuelan independence leader Antonio Jose de Sucre (1795-1830).

      ALBA was formed under the leadership of then-Cuban president Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in December 2004. Members are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and Venezuela.

      After the ALBA summit, Chavez told the press OPEC, Iran and Russia had suggested the idea of not using the U.S. dollar when paying for oil and that Venezuela welcomes the proposal, Reuters reported.

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