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South American Union Formed

South American Union Formed

BBC
May 24, 2008

The leaders of 12 South American nations have formed a regional body aimed at boosting economic and political integration in the region.

At a summit in Brazil, they signed a treaty which created the Union of South American Nations (Unasur).

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the move showed that South America was becoming a “global player”.

But tensions between several members will make it difficult for the group to achieve its goals, observers say.

Mr Lula said at the summit in Brasilia that the differences between some Unasur governments were a sign of vitality in the region.

“The instability some want to see in our continent is a sign of life, especially political life,” Mr Lula said.

“There’s no democracy without people [protesting] in the streets,” he added.

The treaty envisages that Unasur will have a revolving presidency and bi-annual meetings of foreign ministers.

Prior to the Brasilia summit, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described the “empire” of the United States as Unasur’s “number one enemy”.

Mr Chavez is embroiled in a bitter diplomatic row with his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe – a staunch US ally – over Colombian claims that Venezuela has been helping to finance the activities of the Colombian Farc rebels.

The Unasur members are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

 

South America considers single common currency

Gulf Times
May 28, 2008

BRASILIA: South America is thinking of creating a common currency and a central bank along the lines of those in the European Union’s eurozone, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said yesterday.

The idea is a logical next step following the signing last Friday of a treaty creating a Union of South American States that aims to promote joint regional customs and defense policies, Lula said during his weekly radio broadcast.

“Many things still haven’t been realised. We are now going to create a Bank of South America. We are going to move forward so in the future we’ll have a single central bank, a common currency,” he said.
But, he added: “This is a process. It won’t be something that happens quickly.”

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela all signed up to the Unasur treaty creating the regional union during a ceremony in Brasilia last Friday.

The entity’s goal is to bring together two trade blocs within South America, Mercosur and the Andean Community, and to integrate the region.

Brazil is also pushing for a regional defence council that could be used as a forum to settle inter-regional disputes as well as formulate joint policies.

Lula said the creation of Unasur was “the realisation of a dream,” and evidence of remarkable economic and political progress South American nations have made in recent decades.

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