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ARGENTINA | 06-04-2023 00:36

Argentina officially rejoins Unasur, Brazil to follow suit

Alberto Fernández announces that Argentina has officially rejoined the Unasur regional bloc during visit to Santiago; Brazil will follow suit, says president, who wants to convince Chilean leader Gabriel Boric to do the same.

Argentina officially rejoined the Unasur bloc on Wednesday under the orders of President Alberto Fernández, who revealed that Brazil will follow suit imminently. 

Speaking from Chile during a brief trip to see President Gabriel Boric, Argentina’s Peronist leader said Brazil would rejoin the Union of South American Nations on Thursday, bolstering the ranks of the regional bloc.

Founded in 2008 with 12 members, Unasur has been paralysed since 2017 when talks to elect a new secretary general to succeed Colombia's Ernesto Samper broke down. The success of conservative and centre-right governments, as well as differing views on the political and economic crisis in Venezuela, further weakened the bloc, leading to the departure of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Ecuador.

Unasur’s membership today is thin. Only Bolivia, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela remain in the group. Chile is not a member.

"Today we have formalised our membership of Unasur. Brazil, if I am not mistaken, will be doing the same tomorrow, and I have told Boric that we have to work together to recreate Unasur, but the Unasur of these times, not the Unasur of past times," President Fernández said during a press conference at the La Moneda presidential palace on Wednesday.

"We have to guarantee a Unasur that serves the economic development of our peoples,” he added, expressing a desire to “integrate Chilean, Argentine, Brazilian companies and those from other countries.”

Argentina left the group under the direction of former president Mauricio Macri in 2019, for the most part on ideological grounds. Brazil, a founding member and the bloc’s largest economy, followed soon after on the orders of then-president Jair Bolsonaro.

Late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez was a key proponent of Unasur in its original form, considering it to be a way to counter influence from the United States in the region.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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