Named after the nineteenth-century Venezuelan general Simón Bolívar, who became a hero in Venezuela and the rest of Latin America after the beginning of the struggle for Latin American independence, ALBA is now an alternative to the American proposals for an American Free Trade Area (FTAA; in Spanish: Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas, ALCA), with a focus on social welfare and mutual economic assistance in relation to trade liberalization, I have done so. This Cuba-Venezuela agreement, signed on December 14, 2004 by Presidents Chávez and Fidel Castro, aimed to exchange medical and educational resources as well as oil between the two nations. Venezuela has started delivering about 96,000 barrels of oil a day to Cuba by its state-owned oil company PDVSA at very advantageous prices. In exchange, Cuba sent 20,000 health professionals and thousands of teachers to Venezuela`s poorest countries. In order to reverse the negative effects of the "lost decades" of the 90s and 00s, ALBA`s many social programs are often praised by commentators.