Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stressed on Sunday the importance of the expansion of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), with the formal accession of Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda to the regional block, Xinhua reported.
"The ALBA continues to grow in Latin America. Now we have nine nations to build a new project. It is the most dynamic core. " Chavez said during his TV-radio program "Alo, Presidente."
The three new members will formally join the ALBA on Wednesday.
The ALBA is a regional block created in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela to counter the U.S.-led Free Trade Area of the Americas (ALCA) supported by Canada, Mexico, Colombia and Peru.
Nicaragua, Bolivia, Dominica and Honduras are also members of the ALBA.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa ratified on May 25 to join the block,after the country previously attending ALBA meetings as an observer.
The accession of the other two new members was approved during the last ALBA meeting held on April 16 and 17 before the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.