It begins this Tuesday, with Lula hosting Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The leaders of the South American countries, with the sole exception of Peru, will attend a summit on Tuesday called by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, with the goal of relaunching an integration that the region has been pursuing without success for decades.
Lula has invited to this summit to be held in Brasilia the presidents of the other eleven South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
According to the Brazilian government, the only absentee will be the Peruvian president, Dina Boluarte, who will be represented by the president of the Council of Ministers, Alberto Otarola.
The objective of this summit, which will be held almost entirely behind closed doors, is to resume dialogue and analyze the possibility of the region once again having a “purely South American” integration forum“, which is “permanent, inclusive and modern”.
The Brazilian foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, has clarified that it will not be a summit of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), founded in 2008 by the twelve countries and later abandoned by several of the partners for ideological reasons.
Unasur, to which Argentina and Brazil have just rejoined, also has Bolivia, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela as members, but diplomatic sources consulted by EFE in Brasilia admit that the mechanism has become “obsolete” and needs to be “rethought”.
According to Vieira, in Brasilia they will seek to identify “coincidences” and “non-differences”, and discuss “concrete initiatives” in various areas, such as “physical infrastructure” and “border security”, in a high-level dialogue “free of ideological charges”.
A varied political m
The current South American political m is diversealthough with a certain center-left majority, ranging from the most radical Bolivarianism of the Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro to the ideological pragmatism of Lula or the pink socialism of the Chilean Gabriel Boric.
Also the progressive Peronism of the Argentine Alberto Fernandez or the “humanism” of the Colombian Gustavo Petro, together with conservatives such as the Uruguayan Luis Lacalle Pou and the Ecuadorian Guillermo Lasso, the latter in the midst of a serious political crisis.
Despite this diverse political spectrum, Foreign Minister Vieira has said that in Brasilia it will seek to identify the “coincidences” and “not the differences.”
According to the Brazilian minister, it is about opening a “frank and direct conversation” to discuss “concrete initiatives” in various areas, such as physical infrastructure and border security, in a high-level dialogue “free of ideological charges”.
The chimera of integration
The search for South American integration began to take she in 1969, when Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru created the Andean Pact (later Andean Community). Venezuela joined later, although today it is on the sidelines, and Chile abandoned it in 1976.
Mercosur emerged in 1991. (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) and in 2000 the first South American summit was convened, which also brought together the presidents of the twelve countries in Brasilia, convened by the then Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
From that first summit was born the ambitious Initiative for the Integration of the South American Regional Infrastructure (IIRSA)which includes plans for hundreds of physical interconnection works that, for the most part, 23 years later are still unfinished or have not even started.
IIRSA it was inherited by Unasur in 2008 and almost put aside as of 2019, when the majority of the region moved away from that mechanism and joined Prosur, a forum promoted by conservative governments and today also virtually dispeared.
Brazil’s intention with this Tuesday’s summit aims, to a large extent, at rescuing the plans contained in IIRSA and also emphasizing issues that are much more present on the current agenda, such as sustainable development and defense of the environment and of democracy.