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Venezuela and ALBA: Counter-hegemonic regionalism and higher education for all. ESRC-ECCC 23 Jan 2009. Centre for Globalisation, Education & Societies (GES). Ricardo Cabrizas (Cuba, 2004) Rafael Correa (Ecuador, associate) Roosevelt Skerrit (Dominica, 2008)

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venezuela and alba counter hegemonic regionalism and higher education for all
Venezuela and ALBA: Counter-hegemonic regionalism and higher education for all


23 Jan 2009

Centre for Globalisation, Education & Societies (GES)

Ricardo Cabrizas (Cuba, 2004)

Rafael Correa (Ecuador, associate)

Roosevelt Skerrit (Dominica, 2008)

Manuel Zelaya (Hondura, 20008)

Evo Morales (Bolivia, 2006)

Hugo Chávez (Venezuela, 2004)

Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua, 2007)

regionalism and regionalisation
Regionalism and Regionalisation

Regionalism = “a state-led or states-led project designed to reorganise a particular regional space along defined economic and political lines” (Payne & Gamble, 1996: 2).

Regionalisation = “the process whereby a geographical area is transformed from a passive object to an active subject capable of articulating the transnational interests of the emerging region” (“regions in the making”) (Hettne, 2003; Hettne & Söderbaum, 2000).

levels of regionness hettne 2003 hettne s derbaum 2000
Levels of Regionness(Hettne, 2003; Hettne & Söderbaum, 2000)
  • Regional space: a region is rooted in territorial space (a geographical unit).
  • Regional complex: widening trans-local relations, but constrained by the nation state system.
  • Regional society: complex, multi-dimensional interaction of state and non-state actors.
  • Regional community: the region becomes an active subject with a distinct identity. Convergence and compatibility of ideas, organisations and processes. Conflict resolution by non-violent means. Transnationalised regional society. Social equality mechanisms. Regional collective identity.
  • Region state: cultural, ethnic heterogeneity - forced standardisation impracticable (e.g. Soviet Union).

[the concept of ‘grannacional’]

regional governance framework jayasuriya 2003
Regional Governance Framework(Jayasuriya, 2003)
  • A stable set of international economic strategies (open regionalism vs bloc regionalism).
  • A distinctive set of governance structures which enables regional economic governance (rules-based vs informal governance structures).
  • A set of normative or ideational constructs that define the region (regional identity) and make possible a given set of regional governance structures.

(ALBA: cultural, historico-political; solidarity)

4. A convergence of domestic coalitions and political economy structures across the region, that facilitate the coherent construction of regional political projects.

(ALBA: political and economic simultaneously)

geo political project and strategy and a counter hegemonic idea
Geo-political project and strategy, and a counter-hegemonic idea

ALBA is the only genuine LAC regionalism.

Venezuelan Foreign Policy Objectives (CBRV; NESD-2001/2007):

  • LAC integration leading to a community of nations, a common foreign and defence policy, under the principles of solidarity, complementarity, cooperation (‘fair trade’), for “regional sovereignty”, a “democratisation of the international society”, and the construction of a multi-polar world order (“international equilibrium”).
  • International promotion of participatory democracy.
  • Redefining MERCOSUR.
  • Oil as “an instrument of liberation and cooperation”.

Two pillars of foreign policy:

    • South-South cooperation (solidarity, e.g Mali, Malawi, Vietnam)
    • Diversification of international relations (geo-strategic pragmatism, e.g. Iran, China, Russia, Belorussia)
declaration 3 rd extraordinary alba pta summit 26 nov 08
Declaration 3rd Extraordinary ALBA-PTA Summit 26 Nov 08

…towards the institutional consolidation of ALBA...appointment of permanent representatives in the ALBA Coordination Headquarters in Caracas as well as of the executives of the ALBA Bank…

…to construct an ALBA economic and monetary zone that protects our countries from the depredation of transnational capital…through the establishment of the SUCRE Common Currency Unit and a Chamber of Payment Compensation … the creation of this Monetary Zone is accompanied by the establishment of a Reserves Stability Fund …

…study the creation of a World Monetary Council that coordinates the realisation of monetary agreements between regional blocs and whose principal functions would be international monetary, financial and banking regulation and the creation of a world currency that guarantees transparency and stability in the flotation of capitals, providing resources for development.


The ‘open’ sub-regionalisms are disappearing (G-3), in decline (CAN, CARICOM),

and a redefined MERCOSUR may be absorbed into the emerging counter-hegemonic structures (ALBA/UNASUR). The case of PETROAMERICA illustrates that ALBA and UNASUR are overlapping projects.

alba dimensions and institutions
ALBA Dimensions and Institutions

Emerging institutional geography:

ALBA Bank Headquarters in VEN.

Bank of the South Headquarters and sub-offices in VEN, ARG, BOL.

UNASUR Permanent Secretariat in ECU.

inter multi transnational processes regionalising the venezuelan revolutionary state
Inter-/multi-/transnational processes: regionalising the Venezuelan (revolutionary) state
  • Formal regional bloc (de jure region):


  • Sub-regional: PETROCARIBE, -SUR, -ANDINA
  • Multi-/bi-national: Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Caribbean states, etc.
  • Trans-national: state + non-state actors
    • Federal states, e.g. Paraná (Brazil).
    • Municipalities, e.g. in Nicaragua, El Salvador.
    • Social-popular movements, e.g. Movimiento Sem Tierra (MST), Brazil.
    • Organised society, e.g. Venezuela’s Community Councils.
    • Transnational production networks: SPCs, cooperatives, recuperated factories, grand-national projects (GNPs), grand-national companies (GNCs) (regionalisation of capital)
two pillars of counter hegemonic regional integration
Two pillars of counter-hegemonic regional integration

The state


formal regionalism

(de jure region)

The (transnational) organised society

social processes of regionalisation

within and beyond the formal region

(de facto region)

direct and participatory construction

of counter-hegemony depends

on local organisation

Higher Education For All (HEFA):

a culture of solidarity and cooperation

(the two pillars cannot be separated: the revolutionary state organises the popular classes and depends on community organisation. The state also extends out into the de facto region, e.g. through GNPs/GNCs)

higher education for all hefa
Higher Education For All (HEFA)

Free state-provided HE as a public good and constitutional right with a social, cultural (collectivist culture vs entrepreneurial-competitive), political, and economic role for social transformation, rather than specialisation for ‘the market’ and individual social mobility.


  • The quantitative: access for all.
  • The philosophical: a “new socialist ethics” (moral, ethical and social conscience).
  • The qualitative: social relevance

a) Scientific & technical capacities for the social popular economy.

b) Social development in the local, i.e. for exercising citizenship and direct democracy (generating “popular power”).

PAR in the communities through the municipalised UBV.

1st UBV-Community MeetingParticipatory Student-Community Action Research day Barrio Cruz Verde, Coro, 12th Aug 2006
Barrio Cruz Verde

Collective action after the

PAR day: squatting to

move the clinic and use

the thus freed space for

a community centre,

complying with the legal

requirements through

support by the UBV law


These facilities have been taken

by the community to run the clinic