The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández (center), receives the members of the Puebla Group meeting in Buenos Aires, on March 22, 2023. Presidency of Argentina
The Union of South American Nations will have a new opportunity.
After years of agony, Argentina and Brazil have decided to revive the bloc that since 2008 was, at the behest of the Venezuelan Hugo Chávez, umbrella for the countries of the region considered progressive.
President Alberto Fernández announced on Tuesday that he has already presented the necessary letters for the re-entry of his country.
Brazil will ratify during the Ibero-American Summit, to be held in Santo Domingo on March 24 and 25, which will follow in the footsteps of Argentina.
"If Brazil and Argentina are inside, Unasur will have another power and we will have to move forward so that all the brother countries return to heading towards this regional bloc," said Fernández.
Unasur had its glory years in the past decade, when Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia were in the hands of left and center-left governments.
But the turn to the right that began in 2018 caused a bleeding of supporters that plunged the bloc into insignificance.
Today only Bolivia, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela are inside.
And its headquarters, a nearly $40 million building on the outskirts of Quito, Ecuador, is abandoned.
Colombia began the stampede in August 2018. Iván Duque, recently taken office, slammed the door because Unasur had become, according to his reading, an "accomplice of the Venezuelan dictatorship."
Ecuador followed suit in March 2019, when President Lenin Moreno ordered the removal of the statue of Néstor Kirchner from the organization's headquarters in Quito, a step prior to the closure of the facilities.
The winds had changed course and soon Argentina joined, with Mauricio Macri in the Government, the Brazil of Jair Bolsonaro, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
For Argentina, Unasur had "an agenda with a high ideological content and far removed from its initial objectives and the administrative disorder that prevailed in the organization."
There was nothing left of those meetings where Hugo Chávez, Lula da Silva, Rafael Correa, Cristina Kirchner, Evo Morales or José Mujica were photographed together.
Argentina has made the decision to rejoin UNASUR.
Nobody is saved alone in Latin America, we must build a united continent.
That is the way.
– Alberto Fernández (@alferdez) March 21, 2023
The wayward formed in 2019 the Forum for the Progress of South America or Prosur, with a conservative orientation and far from the Bolivarian axis, promoted by Iván Duque and the Chilean Sebastián Piñera.
In parallel, the Lima Group was already operating, which was born as a multilateral entity that accompanied the opposition to Nicolás Maduro in the search for a political solution to the crisis in Venezuela.
But the triumphs of Gustavo Petro in Colombia and Gabriel Boric in Chile changed the relationship of forces in the region.
Alberto Fernández had already advanced when he took office a little over three years ago that he intended to recover Unasur as a model of regional integration.
“The correct project is that of Unasur and not that of the Lima Group, which was created for ideological reasons and is obsessed with Venezuela, while Unsaur is obsessed with Latin America growing,” he said.
On Tuesday, together with the former presidents that make up the Puebla Group, the Argentine recovered the idea: "In Latin America we are all in the same boat and the construction of unity must put aside political use, because that condemns us to more postponement.
That is why we must revitalize Unasur as soon as possible”
The arrival of Lula da Silva ended up accommodating the planets.
Brazil is more comfortable in a renewed Unasur than in Celac, the other bet of Argentina, but also of Mexico, with whom it competes for Latin American hegemony.
Last Thursday, during a meeting with his Paraguayan counterpart, Mario Abdo Benítez, Lula da Silva said that he did not want "a rich Brazil surrounded by poor countries."
“Brazil has to combine its growth with that of its neighbors.
Brazil, as an older brother, has the responsibility that its neighbors grow up to live in a continent of peace and tranquility”, she assured.
The tool for this, she said, was to "reorganize Unasur."
She now begins the work of seducing the rest of the countries in the region.
The Ibero-American Summit will be the first stage of Itamaraty's new diplomatic challenge.
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