Venezuela, ALBA, and the Limits of Postneoliberal Regionalism

  • Asa K. Cusack
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


This chapter considers ALBA’s governance, national political economies, and core economic initiatives to provide an account of the observable ALBA that differs widely from official representations and much of the literature. Aside from social missions and Petrocaribe financing, few major initiatives have functioned as intended or had the effects envisioned. Regionalisation of Venezuelan political economy, particularly its dysfunctional currency regime and administrative culture, have been crucial factors. Chávez’s twenty-first-century socialism has been undone by the persistent petro-state pathologies of the “paradox of plenty”. The “postneoliberal” nature of Venezuelan and Ecuadorian development strategies is found to be decidedly uneven, whereas ALBA’s weak implementation undermines the concept of postneoliberal regionalism. Analogous development strategies can generate conflict when regionalised. Structural and historical hangovers create legal and perceptual barriers. And deficient control undermines gains in terms of input and especially output legitimacy. ALBA continues to follow the Venezuelan government’s path of grand plans and diminishing credibility, leaving both in danger of disintegration.


  1. Acosta, A. 2013. Extractivism and Neoextractivism: Two Sides of the Same Curse. Beyond Development. Accessed 3 June 2017.
  2. ALBA-TCP. 2012. Acuerdo para la Constitución del Espacio Económico del ALBA-TCP (ECOALBA-TCP).Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2014. Informe de Gestión 2004–2014. Accessed 16 September 2014.
  4. Arellano, F.G. 2009. Nacimiento, Evolución y Perspectivas de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América. ILDIS-FES.Google Scholar
  5. Coronil, F. 2008. Magical History: What’s Left of Chavez? Accessed 2 July 2013.
  6. Cusack, A. 2018. The Only Thing Keeping Maduro in Power Is the Opposition. Accessed 18 March 2018.
  7. Dabène, O. 2012. Explaining Latin America’s Fourth Wave of Regional Integration. In Congress of Latin American Studies Association, San Francisco. Accessed 9 May 2012.
  8. El Comercio. 2013. La Alba quiere contrarrestar fuerza de Alianza del Pacífico, 18 December. Accessed 28 January 2014.
  9. Jessop, D. 2011. Carib Energy Dependency and President Chávez. Jamaica Gleaner, 17 July. Accessed 15 August 2011.
  10. Karl, T.L. 1999. The Perils of the Petro-State: Reflections on the Paradox of Plenty. Journal of International Affairs 53 (1): 31–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Leander, A. 2002. Global Ungovernance: Mercenaries, States and the Control Over Violence. Copenhagen, Denmark: Copenhagen Peace Research Institute.
  12. Mészáros, I. 2010. Más allá del capital: hacia una teoría de la transición. La Paz: Vicepresidencia del Estado.Google Scholar
  13. Ministerio de Comercio Exterior. 2014. Convergencias ideológicas entre ALBA-TCP, PETROCARIBE y MERCOSUR.Google Scholar
  14. Phillips, N. 2004. The Southern Cone Model : The Political Economy of Regional Capitalist Development in Latin America. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Phillips, N., and G.C. Prieto. 2011. The Demise of New Regionalism: Reframing the Study of Contemporary Regional Integration in Latin America. In New Regionalism and the European Union : Dialogues, Comparisons and New Research Directions, ed. A. Warleigh-Lack, N. Robinson, and B. Rosamond, 116–134. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Puente, J.M. 2018. Venezuela in Crisis: How Sustainable Is Venezuela’s Support for ALBA? In Understanding ALBA: Progress, Problems and Prospects of Alternative Regionalism in Latin America and the Caribbean, ed. A.K. Cusack, 195–210. London: Institute of Latin American Studies.Google Scholar
  17. Romero, C.A. 2011. Cuba y Venezuela: La Génesis y el Desarrollo de una Utopía Bilateral. In Cuba, Estados Unidos y América Latina frente a los desafíos hemisféricos. Accessed 9 January 2012.
  18. Sanahuja, J.A. 2008. Del regionalismo abierto al regionalismo post-liberal: crisis y cambio en la integracion en America Latina. In Anuario de la integracion regional de America Latina y el Gran Caribe, 11–54. Buenos Aires: CRIES.Google Scholar
  19. Tussie, D. 2009. Latin America: Contrasting Motivations for Regional Projects. Review of International Studies 35 (S1): 169–188. Scholar
  20. Weisbrot, M. 2016. Can the Venezuelan Economy Be Fixed? Accessed 9 March 2018.
  21. Yates, J.S., and K. Bakker. 2014. Debating the “Post-Neoliberal Turn” in Latin America. Progress in Human Geography 38 (1): 62–90. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asa K. Cusack
    • 1
  1. 1.Latin America and Caribbean CentreLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

Personalised recommendations