President Alberto Fernández and his Bolivian counterpart Luis Arce inaugurated yesterday in the Bolivian city of Yacuiba the Juana Azurduy de Padilla “electroduct,” the first power line to connect the neighboring countries’ power grids.
It will allow Argentina to import energy from the neighboring country and improve the voltage levels in the northernmost regions, especially at times of peak demand.
“Bolivia has always given us gas, even in difficult times,” Fernández said during the inauguration. “When we needed it, I called my friend Lucho with some degree of concern and I always found the answer of a brother, and we were always able to solve it,” he said, referring to Arce by his nickname.
The 110km line has 132 kilovolts and connects a substation in Yaguacua, in the southern Bolivian department of Tarija, with another in Tartagal, in the Argentine province of Salta.
“This work will improve the wellbeing not only of Argentine families, but also of Argentine industry, where work is generated, which brings peace of mind to families,” said Fernández.
Return of UNASUR
During the speech, Fernández also addressed the UNASUR, a regional cooperation organization created by leftist presidents in 2008 that floundered when several countries elected right-wing governments who pulled out of the initiative, creating diplomatic fissures on the continent. This week, a summit of South American presidents in Brazil was the first step towards its reopening.
“We are going to do everything necessary to put UNASUR into operation”, said Fernández, who also criticized the organization’s “disintegration” during the presidency of Donald Trump in the United States.
“We both share the vision of bringing equality and justice to our people. Of preserving and respecting the rule of law. To proclaim the unity of popular forces and to build an integrated Latin America,” Fernández said. “Everything you need from me, from Argentina, you are going to have it. Bolivia is a brother country.”
Arce said that UNASUR “must continue, must be strengthened so that we can walk a path of development and progress among all the countries that make up this important integration process”.
He added that the new electricity infrastructure was a demonstration of the co-operation of “two brother countries”.