President Alberto Fernández has confirmed Argentina's re-entry into the UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) political bloc, almost five years on from its departure.
The decision, which had long been trailed by the government, was announced at a meeting of the Grupo Puebla and Latin American Council for Justice and Democracy (CLAJUD) at the Casa Rosada on Tuesday.
"In Latin America we are all in the same boat, and the construction of unity must leave aside the political use of politics," said Fernández at the close of the meeting.
"That is why we must revitalise UNASUR as soon as possible," added the head of state as he announced Argentina’s return to the international grouping, which is currently made up of Bolivia, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
Fernández called on the left-wing leaders present to reach an agreement to "build a regional bloc as a self-defence mechanism," warning that "no-one can save themselves alone."
He also indicated his clear support for Brazil to re-join the bloc, declaring that all “brotherly countries” should be members.
There have been several attempts to revive the UNASUR bloc, which was set up in 2018 ago as a way to counter US influence in the region and was championed by late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and the Kirchnerite governments (former president Néstor Kirchner was appointed the organisation's first secretary-general).
In 2018, almost half of the bloc’s members quit overnight with UNASUR rife with division, as the left-leaning governments who initially championed the group were replaced in power by conservative and centre-right leaders.
Argentina’s then-president Maurico Macri announced the country’s withdrawal from the bloc in April 2018, denouncing UNASUR’s “highly ideological agenda.”