The forum bringing together leftwing leaders known as the Puebla Group is to bring Argentine President Alberto Fernández a proposal for the convergence of the different integration mechanisms existing in the region, former Colombian President Ernesto Samper (1994-1998) announced Friday.
A regional integration proposal will be presented ... to be discussed in Colombia with President Fernandez, said Samper, one of the founders of the Group.
The forum is presenting the initiative to Fernández since Argentina holds the pro tempore presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), which the Puebla Group considers of vital importance in regional integration because it is the only organization that represents all 34 Latin American countries.
”A more empowered Celac is needed. First, we are going to explore the possibilities to integrate faster and more actively. We took advantage of Fernandez's presence in Colombia on the occasion of (Gustavo) Petro's inauguration to exchange ideas on this purpose,” Samper added.
The Puebla Group seeks the convergence of the different integration mechanisms that exist in the region, such as the Pacific Alliance, the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), the Andean Community, and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), among others, Samper also explained.
The Puebla Group has also been critical of Argentina's judiciary over the prosecution of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in what the forum regards as a process plagued with contradictions and motivated by obscure political interests of powerful economic conglomerates.
In the Group's view, the Argentine Vice President is the victim of ”a legal war (lawfare) for her alleged misdirection of public works in the province of Santa Cruz between 2003 and 2015.
The Puebla Group regrets and rejects the legal war (lawfare) that is being carried out against Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in a process plagued with contradictions and motivated by obscure political interests of powerful economic conglomerates, the Group said in a statement.
This case confirms the risky trend but unfortunately common to other cases in Latin America against former presidents such as Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, and Dilma Rousseff, with a common denominator: retaliation for their work on the side of progressivism.”
Among the signatories of the document were Samper, together with former Presidents Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), together with former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and former Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
The Puebla Group has among its most prominent members former presidents José Mujica (Uruguay, 2010-2015), Samper, Evo Morales (Bolivia, 2006-2019), Correa (Ecuador, 2007-2017), Rousseff (Brazil, 2011-2016), Lula da Silva (Brazil, 2003-2010), Lugo (Paraguay, 2008-2012), Manuel Zelaya (Honduras, 2006-2009), Martín Torrijos (Panama, 2004-2009) and Rodríguez Zapatero (Spain, 2004-2011); as well as current Presidents Luis Arce Catacora of Bolivia and Argentina's Alberto Fernández.