The twelve leaders of UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) will be meeting in Lima, Thursday following on the taking office ceremony of Peruvian president Ollanta Humala. All twelve presidents have confirmed attendance with the exception of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez undergoing cancer treatment.
Unasur Secretary General, Maria Emma Mejia, from Colombia, said that on request of President Humala the final declaration of the summit will express strong commitment to work for regional integration and social inclusion of the region’s peoples.
The Peruvian president as host will be chairing the Lima meeting.
Humala who won the presidency with a ‘left leaning nationalist’ background over conservative Keikio Fujimori but according to the names of his cabinet has opted for orthodox economics, has anticipated his full support for Unasur and regional integration.
Furthermore some analysts believe president Humala could turn out to be a balancing element for Unasur given his excellent past relations with the most radical left wing governments of the region and his current move to the centre which has opened strong contacts with the moderate left and conservative leaders of Latin America.
The incoming Peruvian Foreign Affairs minister Rafael Roncagliolo holding the summit in Lima is an excellent opportunity to reaffirm the “Latinamerican and South American” integration commitment.
“Our countries united can become a world power”, he added.
The Peruvian outgoing president Alan Garcia pioneered in Unasur the initiative to reduce military expenditure in the region and make defence budgets transparent and compatibly comparable.
Garcia’ initiative received much enthusiastic support but had little echo in practical terms.
Unausr, launched in 2008 and the brain child of Brazilian diplomacy, is a political instrument to achieve integration in different fields from political to financial, from environment to infrastructure. It also has an influential Defence council which played a crucial role in deactivation of the Colombia-Venezuela conflict.
The organization is made up of all South American countries plus Guyana and Surinam, and is complementary to other regional organizations such as Mercosur and CAN, the Community of Andean Nations.