Category Archives: South American Union

Unasur Forecast Greater Role For Latin America In New International Order

Following the ‘lost’ decade of the 1980, the ‘frustrated’ decade of the nineties, the current decade is “South America’s decade”.


BUENOS AIRES, June 21 (BERNAMA-NNN-MERCOPRESS) — A new global order is emerging as a result of the world crisis and recession in developed countries and Latin America has a crucial role to play given its very satisfactory economic performance in recent years, Latin Unasur bloc Secretary General Maria Emma Mejia said.

Meeting in Madrid for the tenth anniversary of the Spanish foreign affairs think-tank Royal Institute Elcano, Ms Mejia together with other world experts and politicians were invited to discuss the international crisis, the emergence of new powers and if the world is heading for a new international order.

Ms Mejia said that the region’s economy expanded 6% last year and is expected to grow 4.5% this year, of which certainly “the U.S and particularly Europe would feel very envious”.

She added that “undoubtedly a new international order is emerging and Latin America believes it has a crucial role to play”.

However the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) secretary general admitted that inequality and poverty are the main pending issue of Latin America. In spite of the successful economic performance there are still 124 million people living in poverty.

Ms Mejia said that Inter American Development Bank (IADB) president Luis Alberto Moreno had indicated that Lat Am “could double its GDP in the next 14 years which would enable the region to cut poverty from 32% to 10%”

“This is our pending task in Latin America. Inequality and asymmetries are very serious, we have 124 million poor and 13% of our population is indigent, in spite of the huge efforts from countries such as Chile and Brazil” added Ms Mejia.

Following the ‘lost’ decade of the 1980, the ‘frustrated’ decade of the nineties, the current decade is “South America’s decade” said Ms Mejia who described the current situation as “most encouraging” as well as regional integration experiences such as Unasur (Union of South American Nations), through which the region can contribute to the world order and economic development.

However other guests were not so enthusiastic about the coming changes in the world order and what this could mean.

Robin Niblett, head of British Chatman House said the world was not going from an international order dominated by a certain part of the world to one dominated by another part, but rather in coming years “we will have to see how interdependence works out and not who dominates”.

In spite of the fact that the current crisis is “western”, Niblett cautioned “not to underestimate the strength of the U.S and Europe”, that have “some of the most competitive powers and corporations” and a “very strong social security system”.

Another participant at the forum was Yan Xuetong from the Tsinghua University Institute of Modern International Relations, considered one of the most prestigious institutions of China in this field.

“China is not a global power. From an economic point of view China is second in the world but this is not the case regarding political or military influence” said Yan Xuetong, who forecasted that China’s influence in coming years will be “mostly economic”.

“China needs plenty of time, possibly twenty years to become a truly world power”, said the Tsinghua university expert, who is also the editor of China’s Journal of International Politics. He added that “the peaceful rise of China will help to strengthen world stability”.

South America to create new EU-type bloc to defy US

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez led the push for a new bloc

President Calderon of Mexico announced the birth of the new organization

Latin America | 26.02.2010

The 24-strong bloc of Latin American states known as the Rio Group is to join the Caribbean Community to form a new trade body intended to present opposition to US dominance. What can it really hope to achieve?

The Rio Group assertively announced the birth of its successor earlier this week, at a summit in a resort town on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared that a new body had been formed that would represent both the Group of Rio and the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Going under the provisional name the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELC), the newly announced body specifically excluded the United States and Canada from membership, and intends to consolidate the sometimes tenuous solidarity among the Central and South American states. The exclusion of the two North American powerhouses puts the nascent organization in direct competition with the Organization of American States (OAS), established in 1948, over which the US holds decisive authority.

The declaration is clearly a statement of South America’s new self-assertion, and comes in the wake of provocative times, as fellow Rio Group states rallied around Argentina in its current dispute with Britain over oil-drilling rights off the Falkland Islands.

Nikolaus Werz, political scientist at the University of Rostock, believes that the emergence of the new body will only make Europe’s diplomatic ties with Latin America more complicated. “We need a single point of contact, and this adds another to the long list we already have – the Rio Group, OAS, CARICOM and Unasur,” he told Deutsche Welle.

Almost every Latin American country was represented at the annual summit in Mexico, and together they succeeded in formulating some of the values of the sub-continent. Calderon declared, “We have decided to base an organization on shared values including sovereignty and the non-use of force, including threats of force, international cooperation, ever closer integration of Latin America and the Caribbean and permanent political dialogue.”

Historical rhetoric

There was no shortage of high-flown and defiant rhetoric at the meeting, led predictably by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who spoke of finally throwing off the US-yoke. “Now here, in Mexico, we have created a document, a compromise, the creation of a body of Latin America and the Caribbean, without the USA,” Chavez said at the summit. “Now we can say from Mexico we have revived the dream and project of Bolivar.”

There was a strong sense that the region’s most left-wing, anti-American governments had pioneered the creation of the new organization, which is set to convene for the first time on July 5, 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela. But Werz also suggested that the US’s influence on the sub-continent had waned in recent years anyway. “The OAS failed as it tried to take on certain challenges,” he said. “Other players have increased their presence in South America, notably China, but also the EU.”

In an interview with South American broadcaster Telesur, Bolivian president Evo Morales lent his own weight to the vision of a South American brotherhood united against the US. Morales was among many who recently voiced concern about the huge US military presence now stationed on Haiti and the summit pledged to send a further $25 million (18.5 million euros) to the earthquake-hit country.

“A union of Latin American countries is the weapon against imperialism. It is necessary to create a regional body that excludes the United States and Canada,” Morales said. “Where there are US military bases that do not respect democracy, where there is political empire with his blackmailers, with its constraints, there is no development for that country, and especially there is no social peace.”

But the summit also revealed the many tensions likely to threaten the prospective new bloc. The project nearly ran aground this week on the continuing conflict between neighboring Venezuala and Colombia. Colombia is considered a close ally of the US, and Venezuela often perceives itself under threat.

Jamaican head of state Bruce Golding admitted that such tensions were unlikely to go away overnight. “In the past, there were too many occasions where we fought one another. But we still had to live in the same part of the world. I hope that we find ways in the new community to talk about what divides us with the aim of achieving unity.”

Doubts over South American strength

But doubts have also been voiced about the strength and belligerence of the proposed body when it actually comes into being. Few specifics have been revealed about its structure, much of which is yet to be decided, and Rafael Fernandez de Castro, Calderon’s top foreign policy advisor, told the Miami Herald newspaper that the new organization will have neither a building or a permanent staff, and would operate according to a “flexible” program of summits – in other words, CELC would convene either every one or two years.

On top of this, the six nations that have been chosen to draw up the new body’s mission statement – Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela – are mainly countries with no interest in antagonizing the US. The fact that US-friendly Chile takes over the two-year presidency of the Group of Rio in March is unlikely to sharpen tensions within the Americas either.

Leftist Latin American bloc to begin using its own currency, the “Sucre”

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, left, accompanied by Cuba’s President Raul Castro, gestures upon his arrival to Havana, Friday, Dec. 11, 2009. Chavez is on a three-day official visit to Cuba. (AP Photo/Prensa Latina, Ismael Francisco)

Associated Press | Dec 12, 2009

by Andrea Rodriguez

HAVANA – Members of a leftist bloc of nine Latin American nations said Saturday they plan to use a new currency dubbed the “sucre” for trade among themselves starting in January.

No sucres will be printed or coined, but the virtual currency will be used to manage debts between governments while reducing reliance on the U.S. dollar and on Washington in general.

Cuba already signed an agreement on Saturday to pay for a shipment of Venezuelan rice in sucres, according to Rogelio Sierra, the island’s deputy foreign minister. He declined to say what the shipment was worth.

That agreement was made even as ever cash-strapped Cuba has fallen behind on its debt to nations and multinational corporations amid the global recession.

The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas trade group is holding a two-day summit starting Sunday in the Cuban capital.

The group was formed by Venezuela’s self-described socialist president, Hugo Chavez, as an alternative to U.S.-backed free-trade consortiums. Member nations are Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, Bolivia, Antigua and Barbuda, San Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.

Honduras remains part of the bloc despite a June coup that toppled leftist President Manuel Zelaya. Zelaya’s deposed foreign minister is attending the summit, but the acting government in Honduras will almost certainly not abide by any agreements made.

Chavez was greeted Friday as he arrived in Cuba by President Raul Castro. Cuba and Venezuela signed “agreements of cooperation” on 285 bilateral projects in 2010 totaling nearly US$3.2 billion, according to Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez. He provided no details on what those agreements entail, however.

On Saturday, Raul Castro said the cooperation between the countries will allow them to “alleviate the negative impact of the current world economic crisis.”

Leftist presidents Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Evo Morales of Bolivia are expected to attend the summit.

Gaddafi proposes ‘Nato of the South’ at South America-Africa summit

London Times | Sep 28, 2009

Colonel Gaddafi proposed an African-Latin American defence alliance yesterday at an intercontinental summit hosted by Venezuela.

At the South America-Africa summit on Isla Margarita in Venezuela, the Libyan leader joined the host, President Chávez, in calling for an “anti-imperialist” front across Africa and Latin America.

President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and President Zuma of South Africa were among almost 30 leaders from across the two continents present as Mr Chávez sought to promote his socialist policies abroad, urging a new world order that would confront Western dominance.

“The world’s powers want to continue to hold on to their power,” said Mr Gaddafi, who had a white limousine flown to Venezuela to meet him at the airport. He then met Mr Chávez in his trademark Beduin tent by a hotel pool. “Now we have to fight to build our own power,” he said.

The leaders were to agree a range of joint projects in areas including energy, mining and agriculture, with Mr Gaddafi, in particular, expected to sign several accords with Mr Chávez.

Venezuela also stoked the controversy over the Iranian nuclear programme with the revelation that it was working with Tehran to exploit its uranium deposits.

Rodolfo Sanz, the Mining Minister, said that Iran was helping Venezuela to detect resources, raising international suspicions at a time when voices in Israel and the United States are accusing Caracas of helping its ally to evade sanctions on its nuclear programme.

Brazil after New World Order in economy


Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks during the 64th United Nations General Assembly September 23, 2009 at UN headquarters in New York. Getty Images.

“We are obliged to intervene across national borders and must therefore re-found the world economic order,” he said

Press TV | Sep 23, 2009

The Brazilian president calls for a new world order in global economy, which gives developing countries more control over the World Bank and the IMF.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, insisted that every country should play its role in overhauling the interdependent global economy.

“Because the global economy is interdependent, we are obliged to intervene across national borders and must therefore re-found the world economic order,” he said, according to AFP.

Lula further underlined that the world leaders should go ahead with regulating the financial markets and putting an end to protectionism.

He called for international financial entities such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to be “more representative and democratic” and to give poor and developing countries a due share if they want to overhaul the global financial system.

“Poor and developing countries must increase their share of control in the IMF and the World Bank,” he said.

Lula is going to represent his country as an emerging economy at the G20 summit later week in Pittsburg with US President Barack Obama hosting the event.

Chavez seeks Africa’s help for New World Order

Chavez Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Africa-South America Summi

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez (L) visits Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at his tent at the venue of the Africa-South America Summit in Margarita Island September 25, 2009. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout

Chavez has governed for just over 10 years and makes no bones about his aim to stay in office for decades more while he works to turn Venezuela into a socialist state.

Reuters | Sep 26, 2009

By Frank Jack Daniel and Fabian Cambero

PORLAMAR, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hosted some of Africa’s longest-serving leaders at a sleek Caribbean resort on Saturday for a summit he says will help end U.S. and European economic dominance.

High-profile guests included Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who is celebrating four decades in office and had a white limousine flown to Venezuela to meet him at the airport, and 85-year-old Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since leading it from British colonialism nearly 30 years back.

Chavez has governed for just over 10 years and makes no bones about his aim to stay in office for decades more while he works to turn Venezuela into a socialist state.

He said the two-day meeting of African and South American leaders, which also includes many recently elected presidents, would help the mainly poor nations build stronger trade ties and rely less on Europe and the United States.

Chavez said Europe and the United States were empires that have imposed poverty on much of the world.

“We are going to create two great poles of power,” Chavez told reporters at the luxury Hilton resort on Venezuela’s Margarita island late on Friday. We are “seeking a world with no more imperialism where we will be free, uniting to escape poverty.”

The presidents of Brazil and South Africa also attended the summit. Their model of business-friendly economics mixed with a focus on the poor is more popular among many African countries than Chavez’s radical message.

Some analysts say the developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, known as BRIC nations, could eclipse the economies of the world’s richest countries by 2050.

The leaders at the summit were likely to agree on supporting stronger links between the two continents and calling for reform of global institutions like the United Nations and World Bank to give poor countries more clout.

Gaddafi, whose entourage arrived in two matching Airbus passenger jets and pitched a large Bedouin tent beside the Hilton’s pool, on Wednesday told the United Nations that big powers had betrayed the U.N. charter with their vetoes and sanctions.

King Mswati III of Swaziland, who was crowned in 1987, was also due to appear on Margarita, along with the leaders of Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Algeria, among others.

In total, 28 African and South American leaders were expected to be present by Saturday afternoon.

Chavez seems to be going all out to provoke his foes.

On Friday, Venezuela said Iran helped identify its uranium reserves, just hours after the West accused Tehran of building a secret nuclear fuel plant.

Chavez says he opposes nuclear weapons, but that the developed world does not have the right to stop other countries from developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

A major oil exporter, Venezuela is seeking to widen Chavez’s ALBA alliance of mainly Latin American leftist governments to include African states.

Chavez promised this month to build a refinery in Mauritania and sell crude to Mali and Niger in West Africa, a region that is emerging as a major new oil frontier considered of strategic importance to oil companies.

(Additional reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Will Dunham)

Chavez promotes closer Africa-South America ties

Muammar Gaddafi  shakes hands with Hugo Chavez during the summit on regional conflicts in Tripoli August 31, 2009. REUTERS Zohra Bensemra

Muammar Gaddafi (R) shakes hands with Hugo Chavez during the summit on regional conflicts in Tripoli August 31, 2009. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

AP | Sep 25, 2009


PORLAMAR, Venezuela — Some 30 African and South American leaders are seeking to build on their alliances at a summit that gives Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a chance to extend his influence across the Atlantic.

Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, on his first visit to the Americas, set up camp in a trademark Bedouin tent and met with Chavez inside it Friday night. Other leaders also held talks in private ahead of the summit’s start on Saturday.

The two-day meeting on Venezuela’s Margarita Island is aimed at addressing a wide range of common concerns, from poverty solutions to calls for reform at the United Nations.

Chavez has called it “a summit of great importance for the struggles of the South.”

Presidents are discussing plans for cooperation in energy, trade, finance, agriculture, mining, education and other areas.

“Africa and South America — We’re going to form two of the large poles of power in that … multipolar world that has begun to be born,” Chavez said as he arrived for the summit Friday night. He said that by uniting, the two regions can confront a legacy of poverty left “by the empires of the North — by the empires of Europe, by the U.S. empire.”

The meeting gives Chavez an opportunity to attempt a greater leadership role outside Latin America while critiquing U.S. influence and promoting socialist-inspired policies.

“South-South” cooperation has been a buzzword at the summit, which brings together two regional blocs: the African Union and South America’s fledgling Unasur group.

African leaders including Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika gathered at a beachside hotel amid crowds of bodyguards and aides. South American presidents from Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to Bolivia’s Evo Morales were also attending.

Chavez called Gadhafi and Bouteflika the historic “liberators” of their countries and said socialism — both in Africa and in Latin America — will be “the path to the world’s salvation.”

A first, smaller gathering of African and Latin American leaders was held in Nigeria in 2006. The timing this year — immediately after the U.N. General Assembly in New York and G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh — suggests it may turn out to be a forum for many non-G-20 nations to respond and focus on their concerns about the way the global financial crisis is being handled.

Deals to work together in tapping energy and mineral resources are also expected.

Chavez has already announced that Venezuela may help build an oil refinery in Mauritania that could process 30,000 to 40,000 barrels per day and supply fuel to Mali, Niger and Gambia.

It is unclear how much the South American oil exporter is prepared to invest in energy projects in Africa since it is coping with a sharp drop in its revenues due to lower crude prices.

Colombia might leave Unasur regional bloc | Sep 17, 2009

Colombia could consider quitting the South American nations bloc Unasur if it does not agree to debate issues related to drug trafficking and terrorism.

The Colombian Defence Minister Gabriel Silva said during the summit of regional foreign and defence ministers in Ecuador that “if there is no sense of urgency on these issues as they are for Colombia, we will be mere spectators. In that case we will have to evaluate the possibility of pulling out.”

Meanwhile, Venezuela said the bases could be used “to gather intelligence, counterintelligence and conspire against us” and added the Venezuelans should get prepared for a possible armed conflict with US and Colombia.

Chavez announces South American Union meeting with African Union

Chávez arrives in Libya as part of a tour of five countries | Aug 30, 2009

Chávez announces Unasur-African Union meeting in Venezuela

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, who is visiting Libya, on Monday agreed to hold a meeting in Margarita Island between the members of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and the African Union on September 26.

“We reiterate the invitation to each and every one of the presidents of the African Union to make an effort and visit Venezuela on September 26 and 27. We have chosen the Margarita Island to host the meeting and we are inviting the Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández to accompany us as special guest. We will also invite (the presidents of) other Caribbean countries, said President Chávez.

“This meeting is very important. We are making a big effort, together with the President of the African Union, the leader Muammar Gaddafi; the secretary of the organization; the chairman of the committee. We have been preparing the agenda (…) along with Brazil,” Chávez added.

FARC is the best instrument of US empire: Morales

Colombia Reports | Aug 24, 2009

by Katharina Wecker

The FARC are “the best instrument of the U.S. empire” as the fight against the guerrillas has become the pretext for U.S. military presence in Colombia, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Monday.

“The U.S. is using the fight against the FARC to justify their military presence in Colombia. I regret to say: they are the best instrument of the empire at the moment,” Morales said at a press conference.

The Bolivian President reiterated his rejection of the military agreement between the U.S. and Colombia allowing the United States to use at least seven Colombian military bases. Morales announced he will defend his position at the next UNASUR meeting to be held in Bariloche, Argentina, on Friday.


Colombia: Chavez finances FARC

Morales said the U.S. military presence in South America will lead to a “political presence” of the United States to “conspire” against other governments, as he believed happened with the coup in Honduras. According to the Bolivian leader, the U.S. Southern Command encouraged the ousting of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

But Morales is sure that at the UNASUR summit in Bariloche the South American leaders “will realize, behind closed doors, what will be the consequences of the U.S. military presence in South and Latin America. There will be a debate about the dignity and sovereignty of all countries of South America.”

On Friday all members of UNASUR will meet to discuss the military agreement between the U.S. and Colombia. Despite several explanations about the accord by high U.S. officials and a South American tour by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, the plan continues to raise concerns in a large number of Latin American countries.