Colombia’s former Foreign Minister, María Emma Mejía, was appointed Monday as the new Secretary General to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in a ceremony in Georgetown hosted by Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo.
“This is our moment, and I’m not the only one saying that. We have the historic responsibility of maximizing the great period that this region is going through,” Mejía said in the Georgetown Government Palace.
The office of the UNASUR Secretary General had remained vacant since the death of former President Néstor Kirchner last October. He had been chosen last May to lead the organization for the next two years.
“South America is one of the regions in the world with the largest gap between rich and poor. We need to reverse this terrible situation,” she explained.
According to Mejía, her priorities in office will be infrastructure, energy integration, healthcare, education, security and defence.
She is expected to remain in office for a year, and she will later be replaced by Venezuela’s Energy Minister Alí Rodríguez.
The UNASUR was formed in 2008 and is composed of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela.
All countries with the exception of Paraguay have approved the Unasur accord and charter. Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo does not have the sufficient votes in Congress to have the initiative approved nor the incorporation of Venezuela as full member of Mercosur.