Former Colombian president Ernesto Samper was inaugurated on Thursday as Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations, Unasur, by Surinam's Desire Bouterse who holds the rotating presidency of the group.
I believe and I'm convinced that the mission-purpose of Unasur is to keep our region as a zone of peace, to ensure peace in our continent, were Samper's first words on taking the secretariat.
The ceremony took place in Caracas where Samper replaced Venezuela's Ali Rodriguez Araque who held the post since 2012.
The former Colombian president was nominated for the job last 22 August, following the consensus from the leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela that make up the group with headquarters in Quito, Ecuador.
In statements previous to becoming the new secretary, Samper anticipated that one of his first tasks was to try and resurface the political talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition, sponsored by Unasur and which involved foreign ministers from Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and the Vatican as mediators.
The dialogue has the purpose of reaching an understanding in Venezuela following months of rioting and protests that left at least 42 people dead, hundreds injured and arrested.
However as the protest died down, the government reinforced repression and the opposition was divided as to how address the situation, inside or outside the system, the dialogue was indefinitely suspended.