The nomination of a secretary general for Unasur, Union of South American Nations, could be delayed until mid December since discussions on the sidelines of the XXth Ibero-American summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina, are currently stalled and time is running short, according to political analysts.
The meeting on Friday of Unasur Foreign Affairs ministers was unable to reach a consensus on who should succeed the late former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner although some names that had been floated were definitively discarded.
Similarly the argument that only former presidents could hold the job was watered down since Colombia and Venezuela surprised Unasur ministers with their own proposals of distinguished personalities involved in politics and academia.
Brazilian president Lula da Silva who steps down next January first was everybody’s candidate given the charisma and international reputation of the former union leader who leaves office with an unprecedented support of 80%.
But Lula da Silva has said he has organized a foundation, with his name, which will be involved in combating poverty in Africa and Latinamerica.
Chilean former president Michelle Bachelet much loved and respected had to be eliminated from the short list since she is inaugurating a top United Nations job to upgrade gender relations and is fully committed to the new field.
The former Uruguayan leader Tabare Vazquez does not have a consensus and most probably would be vetoed by Argentina. The long standing acrimonious pulp mill dispute which became personal between the Uruguayan president and the Argentine ruling couple remains an insurmountable barrier.
Mrs Kirchner can’t forget that her late husband’s nomination in Unasur was delayed because Vazquez appealed to the veto as part of the bilateral controversy.
The name of former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, should not even be mentioned since he’s unacceptable for a significant number of countries.
With no presidents left, the name of Marco Aurelio Garcia, international affairs advisor to President Lula da Silva and one of the brains behind the idea of Unasur, was floated. However he has been confirmed in the post and with more responsibilities, by president-elect Dilma Rousseff.
So along come neighbouring Colombia and Venezuela now close friends with their own proposals. Maria Emma Mejia is a former Education and Foreign Affairs minister and who currently manages the foundation “Bare footed” founded by the Colombian pop singer Shakira.
Venezuela proposed the name of Ali Rodriguez Araque, President Hugo Chavez Energy minister and who has been responsible for a long list of government responsibilities.
However his great contribution has been to put into paper and ink the “Bolivarian revolution” ideology which inspires the Chavez administration.
So discussions are expected to continue Saturday, which is also the closing day of a summit that has seen several if not significant, controversially missed absences such as, Venezuela’s Chavez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and Chilean president Santiago Piñera who should be arriving on time to take the plane back to Chile.
Therefore all indicates that given this scenario discussions on the nomination of a Secretary General could again be considered December 16/18 when the Mercosur summit in Foz de Iguazú.