ALBA and UNASUR – The Emergence of Counter-hegemonic Regional Associations in Latin America and the Caribbean
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Latin America and the Caribbean have been victims of more than 500-years of colonialism and imperialism. A key component of both colonialism and imperialism has been the denial of and/or distortion of sovereignty throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Neoliberalism has been but the most recent frame within which to continue this project. The FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) was to have consolidated neoliberalism across the hemisphere, under U.S. hegemony. But the rise of massive social movements throughout the region, prevented the launch of the FTAA in 2005. This has not stopped the attempt to institutionalize neoliberalism. Both the U.S. and Canada have turned to bilateral deals as an alternative to the FTAA. However, we have also seen the creation of regional trade and investment associations independent of the United States and Canada. This paper will examine two of these – ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) and UNASUR (the Union of South American Nations) – and assess their impact as counter-hegemonic projects. The paper builds on earlier research published in New Political Science and forthcoming in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization.