Brazil’s Lula da Silva and former Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez are the most probable candidates for the Union of South American Nations, Unasur, secretary general chair, according to Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa. Ecuador currently holds the rotating presidency of Unasur.
The job is vacant since the death of former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner, Unasur’s first secretary general. President Lula da Silva steps down after eight years in office next January first.
According to the official Ecuadorean news agency Andes, the issue was discussed by Correa with Uruguay’s president Jose Mujica currently on an official visit to Ecuador.
“We will have to continue with the consultation round; there’s no consensus yet, we’re involved in a flush of ideas, that’s what we’ve been talking with (Uruguayan president) Pepe Mujica”, said Correa.
He added that the list of candidates for the job has several former presidents from the region, “so we must keep thinking on the issue; let’s hope we can reach a consensus name for when we meet in Georgetown (Guyana), if not we shall have to continue discussions”.
Next November 26, Unasur will be celebrating a presidential summit when the group’s presidency will be officially handed to Guyana.
Correa said he was hopeful that by then Unasur will receive the good news that the group’s founding document and charter will be ratified by another of the members’ legislative thus giving it the legal formality.
“So far we have eight countries that have ratified the treaty and we are only one short to that Unasur has legal existence”, said Correa.
Uruguayan president Mujica visited Ecuador to express support for his Ecuadorean peer, following the recent mutiny of protesting police forces that gassed and fired warning shots at Correa. It was a Unasur decision that all leaders send a strong message of support to Ecuador’s democracy and elected officials.
During the two-day visit the Uruguayan delegation signed several bilateral cooperation agreements referred to defence, education, government planning, housing and energy. OPEC member Ecuador lacks sufficient refining capacity so Uruguay has been exchanging gasoline and diesel for crude (16 million barrels so far this year).