UNASUR Ex President Calls for Unity Now

This is the moment to be united and not divided, affirmed today the former president of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), Ernesto Samper, highlighting the region''s challenges in the face of the imperialist attack.

Interviewed by the newspaper Cambio, the former president of Colombia (1994-1998) analyzed the crisis that unasur is going through in the decision made last April by six countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru), suspend its participation in the meetings of that block.

In his opinion, this situation is motivated by ideological differences between countries that unfortunately have not been solved using the channels offered by Unasur through the councils of foreign ministers, which has prevented to find agreements around a name that occupies the General Secretariat , which is vacant more than a year ago.

He expressed his expectation that 'the path of agreement is quickly found to elect a person, no matter what nationality he is or the ideology he professes, of the government or of the country from which he comes,' he stressed.

I hope that with the efforts being made by Bolivian President Evo Morales we will have the ability to pass this bridge and continue working for South American integration in the way that Unasur has been doing it in the last 10 years and also Mercosur, ALBA or the Andean Community are all these experiences that should not be disregarded, he said.

I hope, 'Samper said,' that this is an episode that can be overcome, 'because the presence of an integration body in the region has never been more important than today, when the region is seriously threatened by the president's completely protectionist and imperialist policy. the United States, which has turned its international agenda into aggressive decisions against the interests of Latin America. '

It exemplified with the wall of Mexico, the expulsion of ten million migrants from the United States, the regulations to prevent access to the United States, the raising of tariffs for our products and the withdrawal of the commitments of climate change that were fundamental to sustain the environmental stability of the region.

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Dismantling Unasur Would Be a 'Historical Error': Ex-Chief

Samper argued the regional integration body is more necessary today in the face of threats by 'foolish Donald Trump.' 

Ernesto Samper, the former secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), has warned that allowing the regional integration body to be dismantled or disappear would be a “historical error,” and would “weaken our countries when it is most needed to face the threats to the region and the world since the foolish Donald Trump presides over the United States.”  

ANALYSIS: How Lima Group Undermines Unasur's Regional Sovereignty Mission

Unasur entered a prolonged impasse in late April when six countries, all belonging to the United States aligned Lima Group, announced they were temporarily withdrawing from the South American integration body.

According to a joint letter sent to Bolivia, which holds the pro-tempore presidency of Unasur, the withdrawal was a response to the incapacity of Unasur countries to choose a secretary general since early 2017 when Samper, a former Colombian president (1994-1998), ended his term.

In an op-ed written for EFE, Samper detailed U.S. policies that threaten the region and said destroying Unasur will be akin to suicide.  

“Trump’s ‘axe of war’ contemplates the expulsion of Latino migrants who have lived in the United States for years; the construction of divisive walls in the border with Mexico; non-compliance with environmental regulation, that due to global warming increases the risk of natural disasters in the Caribbean; increasing taxes for our key exports; or questioning Colombia’s peace accords,” Samper explains.

RELATED: Ex-Unasur Chief: 'Aggressive' US Threatens Regional Integration 

“To disregard the joint response to such challenges is like jumping overboard when the storm rages,” Samper said.   

Despite the formal justification, some fear the intention is to dismantle Unasur. In a previous interview, Samper acknowledged the United States would prefer to have the Organization of American States as the only regional body.

The creation of Unasur did not only represent a regional body that excluded the U.S., but it also challenged U.S. military hegemony in the region.

The South American Defense Council “reiterated its commitment against foreign military bases in South America when former president Alvaro Uribe authorized the presence of several bases in the border between Colombia and Venezuela. Its implementation could’ve taken us to the brink of unseen levels of hemispheric conflict” Samper explained.

After presenting other Unasur accomplishments in the fields of migration, health, and education, Samper warned: “Lowering our guard against what has been achieved over the years, transforming what is now a space of integration into a field of controversy would be, as well as unforgivable, a serious historical error.”

  • Published in World
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