Presidential Summit Proposes The Creation Of Regional Citizenship

Lima - PeruThe VI Ordinary Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Union of South American Nations, or UNASUR, was held on Nov. 30 in Lima, Peru. Notable absences included Argentine President Cristina Fernández, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, pro tempore president of UNASUR, announced at the end of the regional summit the present government leaders, Sebastián Piñera of Chile, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Ronald Ramotar of Guyana and Desi Bouterse of Suriname, José Mujica of Uruguay, approved 16 decisions about democracy, security, health, infrastructure, and social development, among others. “We will make a real effort toward South American integration, we have worked on social projects with a priority agenda, for example, in eradicating chronic infant malnutrition. [We will make an effort] toward a social protection system for vulnerable populations, a search for greater access to public services and creation of economic and productive opportunities for most impoverished, particularly in border areas,” said Humala. One of the highlights of the Lima Declaration is the agreement to begin a process to create South American citizenship, making migration a priority. The leaders emphasized their commitment “to flexibly and gradually advance toward a consolidated South American identity through progressive recognition of the rights of nationals of member States residing in any other member State of the UNASUR, beginning to mold a true South American citizenship as a fundamental pillar of an integrated South America”. Despite the good intentions, South American integration faces serious obstacles. On the one hand, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico are part of the Pacific Alliance, a commercial bloc encouraged by United States; on the other hand, Southern Common Market, MERCOSUR, comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay (temporarily suspended), Uruguay, and Venezuela, has invited Ecuador and Bolivia to become members. If this were to take effect, it would mean the disappearance of Andean Community of Nations and the division of UNASUR, while the MERCOSUR would become a power pole would exclude countries favorable to free trade agreements (FTAs). According to Alberto Adrianzén, a member of the Andean Parliament, Pacific Alliance is strategic to United States. This commercial bloc is the second regional economy after Brazil, with 212 million people. It makes up 35% of the Latin American gross national product, generates more than 55% of regional exports, surpassing MERCOSUR, and it promotes neoliberal economic model. “It is no surprise that during the last Summit of the Americas, held in Cartagena, Colombia [April 14-15, 2012], US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked the countries that make up this alliance to become a bloc that is not only commercial, but that has an ideological and political component as well,” said Adrianzén. However, the relationship between South America and United States has notably changed in the last decade with presence of progressive governments that hope to strengthen UNASUR “with foreign policies that promote regional integration and sovereignty and with the implementation of new agendas with regional development as their objective,” explained Adrianzén in his column in Peruvian newspaper La Primera. (source: Latinamerica Press – 07/12/2012)


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional


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