Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

ALBA aboard

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on December 15, 2010

by M.W. for The Economist – Americas View, December 14th, 2010.

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) is best-known as a group of left-wing governments led by Venezuela and Cuba. Not all of its members are anti-American firebrands, however. Some, like St Vincent and the Grenadines, are simply small Caribbean island nations looking for friends on all sides. In 2005 Ralph Gonsalves, its prime minister, brought the country of around 100,000 into PetroCaribe, Venezuela’s subsidised-credit scheme for oil exports. Four years later he signed up for ALBA itself. St Vincent has benefited from the relationship with cheaper fuel for electricity and with machines used in the construction of a new airport.

After holding a large majority in the country’s small Parliament for nearly ten years, Mr Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party faced a general election on December 13th. It held onto power by the slimmest of margins, winning eight seats to the opposition’s seven. It seems that the domestic political struggles of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s radical president, are not carrying over to his Caribbean allies.

The planned airport, to be named Argyle International, has been Mr Gonsalves’ signature initiative since he announced the project in 2005. The country’s current airport lies in a narrow valley and cannot accommodate big planes, forcing travellers from Europe or North America to make an overnight stop on a nearby island. But the country is a jumble of volcanoes,  one of which is still active. To clear space for a runway, the government must remove inconvenient hillsides and fill in awkward valleys, raising the project’s original estimated cost to $178m—a whopping 44% of GDP. (continue reading… )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: