UNASUR is born among regional division and disputes (Updated II)
Caracas, Venezuela, 23 May 2008. Today at Brasilia, Brazil, South America President formally signed a treaty to constitute the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). This new supranational body was envisioned in the Cuzco Declaration signed in 2004. It intends to further regional integration; this is an old but failed aspiration.
Now UNASUR will attempt to unite two existing regional free trade schemes: Mercosur and the Andean Community. Other UNASUR institutions like its financial institution - Bank of the South - are well under way. However, other political stances are not alien to disputes and conflict. Colombia rejected the offer to chair the presidency of its regional defence body or local OTAN. It stated that differences with Ecuador and Venezuela prevented such undertaking. Furthermore, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe expressed his trust on OAS defence mechanism. Thus, a commision to strudy the creation of the Defence Council of South America - local OTAN- which was proposed by Brazil was created today but without Colombia. Bogotá oficially justified Colombian absence in terms of terrorism threats and reltated events.
Division reins among the UNASUR members. On the one hand, there is the strong leaning socialist group made up Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and some times Brazil and Argentina. On the other hand, there is US allied Colombia. In between, one may find Chile, Peru, Uuguay and Paraguay.
During the meeting, both Presidents of Chile and Venezuela met for mending slighly damaged bilateral relations. Last week, President Bachelet had rejected suggestions made by Chavez on the current Chilean security chief and INTERPOL Vice President, Arturo Herrera. President Chavez stated Herrera had participated in Human Right violation activities during Pinochet de facto government.
PS: Arter shaking hands briefly during the UNASUR meeting, both President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, decided to make attempts to amend relations. Later, Chavez stated his wish for Uribe to return to the terms of what was agreed during the last Rio Group meeting in Dominican Republic. It was during that regional gathering that Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela settled their crisis politically. The regional crisis was created after Colombian forces invaded Ecuadorian territory and killed 26 people in a FARC camp.
Chile will sit at the Pro Tempore Presidency Chair of UNASAR. President Bachelet stated UNASUR needs to quickly embark into social programmes for poverty reduction.
UNASUR creation is now in the hands of local parliaments for their approval.
Related stories: Bank of the South kicks off with US$20.000 millions, Venezuela to exit IMF and World Bank, Brazil, Venezuela & Argentina Launch IMF Rival, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela crisis: XX Rio Group Summit (updated III).