Paraguay Thursday took over from Colombia the pro tempore Presidency of the Forum for the Progress and Integration of South America (Prosur), during a ceremony in Cartagena de Indias.
However, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez was kept from attending the event personally after testing positive for COVID-19. In his virtual acceptance speech, he admitted his country's new role at the helm of the forum was a great challenge.
Prosur is the platform that, through dialogue and cooperation between States, promotes integrated actions that can guarantee greater development in our nations, said Abdo Benítez.
The forum's greatest value is that it favors the interests of States, not merely governments, and that it promotes the full observance of human rights, the rule of law and democracy, he added.
Paraguay's Presidency will continue strengthening Prosur so that there is a closer exchange of experiences, in order to address issues such as the adoption of health, immigration, environmental and security measures in a strategic and integrated manner, Abdo vowed.
For this integration to be effective and genuine, we need double down our commitment to the defense of democracy; only in this way can we advance towards the objectives that we set for ourselves, the Paraguayan leader also pointed out.
Abdo insisted democracy cannot be an empty shell, it must become an instrument for citizens to feel the benefits of living in States where individual rights, freedom of expression and thought are respected, where separation of powers and the independence of justice is not a discourse or a wish, but a reality.
As the Prosur Summit also expressed its solidarity with the Peruvian people and government in the face of one of the greatest environmental disasters caused by the oil spills in the Pacific Ocean, Chile's President Sebastián Piñera heralded that Latin America will be the next OPEC of clean energy, while he also forecast coal and oil will disappear as sources of energy. ”Maybe we have to think that we are going to be the next OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) in the world, he said. The Chilean head of state also highlighted the opportunities in the post-pandemic world, where this continent is going to be one of the great beneficiaries from the point of view of generatingclean, green, renewable energy.
Piñera also said he envisioned the continent could be transformed into a provider of healthy food to a world in need as a result of climate change, which will cause a decrease in the ability to generate food in other parts of the world. We are going to be able to transform our continent into a true supplier of healthy food to the world,” he affirmed.
The Chilean President also underscored unemployment, the economic crisis and climate change as some of the challenges on which Prosur countries needed to work together.
Prosur, which was created in March 2019 through the Presidential Declaration on Renewal and Strengthening of the Integration of South America, is a a mechanism for coordination, cooperation and regional integration, made up of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay and Peru.