Argentina to return to UNASUR

Regional leaders announced their support at the Casa Rosada today

President Alberto Fernández announced today that Argentina would return to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), a regional intergovernmental organization that the country left in 2019 under Mauricio Macri’s administration.

“We are all in the same boat in Latin America,” said Fernández in a Casa Rosada meeting with Grupo de Puebla members — an left-of-center political and academic group.

“If we don’t put political manipulation aside to build towards unity, we condemn ourselves to backwardness. We have to revitalize UNASUR as soon as possible.”

The UNASUR was created in 2008 by then-Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and it once comprised of twelve South American countries. At the time, Latin America had been experiencing a “pink tide,” a regional turn to left-wing governments at the turn of the 21st century. However, in the years following the creation of UNASUR there was a backlash that led to the political landscape shifting towards the right.. 

In 2017 six members of UNASUR, including Argentina, formed an opposing right-wing coalition calledthe Lima Group. The following year, those countries suspended their UNASUR membership and, from 2019 to 2020, some of those nations withdrew from it and join the PROSUR, another integration body created in 2019 by Chilean and Colombian presidents Sebastián Piñera and Iván Duque at the time.

Currently, the UNASUR is only made up of Guyana, Surinam, Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru.

Tthe new regional return to center-left politics has made a UNASUR comeback possible. In 2022, after winning the Brazilian presidential election, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signaled his intention to rejoin UNASUR. Colombian and Chilean presidents Gustavo Petro and Gabriel Boric also said they would rejoin.

“Integration goes beyond ideology,” former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa said in the Casa Rosada meeting. 

“UNASUR is more necessary now than ever because an economic crisis will come to our countries sooner rather than later — we depend on an extra-regional currency,” he said, referring to regional markets’ dependence on the US dollar.

Former Bolivian president Evo Morales also considered that UNASUR  will be decisive for the economy of its members. 

“The current fight is for natural resources,” he said. “We have to decide whether they belong to the people under the government’s management, or to the private sector, under the pillage of transnational companies.”


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