South American countries on Friday launched the Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur), a new regional bloc which seeks the “integration and strengthening of the region.”
Presidents and representatives from Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay and Guyana signed a joint declaration to create a regional space of coordination and cooperation, without exclusion of ideologies at a meeting in Santiago.
The bloc intends to advance toward a more effective integration, that allows contribution to growth, progress and development for the nations, said the declaration.
Prosur was driven by conservatives Chilean President Sebastian Piñera and Colombian President Ivan Duque, with a goal of strengthening regional ties and replacing the 12-member Union of South American Nations (Unasur) which started in 2008 under the influence on then Venezuelan populist president Hugo Chavez and Lula da Silva from Brazil.
Prosur is a forum without ideology and bureaucracy, but with a total commitment to freedom, democracy and human rights, Piñera said on Friday.
The alliance would provide a forum for South American countries to work together, make their voices heard and achieve more freedom, integration and development, he said.
Chile will lead Prosur for one year before Paraguay takes helm.
Bolivia and Uruguay did not join the group, Bolivia is a close ally of Venezuela and the Maduro regime and Uruguay will act as an observer since the ruling coalition is divided on the issue of Venezuela and the radicals led by ex president Jose Mujica prevail since they have a greater representation in the Legislative.