HAVANA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua)-- The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) concluded its XVI Summit here Friday with a declaration in defense of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez read the declaration at the closing ceremony of the one-day summit at the Havana Convention Center in the presence of Cuban Communist Party First Secretary Raul Castro, President Miguel Diaz-Canel and other heads of state and senior officials of the 10 ALBA member countries.
The document reiterated the regional organization's willingness to continue the construction of a "new international order, democratic and fair", with respect for the sovereignty of the states and the self-determination of peoples.
The ALBA leaders and other representatives ratified their commitment to political coordination, cooperation and integration which enable the region to face the "interference and political and economic domination imposed by the global powers."
They also reaffirmed the need to strengthen the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism for political consensus in the region, while demanding the United States lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba imposed since 1962.
Founded initially by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004, ALBA was designed to reduce Latin America's reliance on Western aid by promoting intra-regional alliances and cooperation in key sectors such as energy and trade.
The bloc now consists of Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela.