Monday, 21 March 2011

South American Union Selects Socialist Leaders

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While U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Latin America hogs the media spotlight in news coverage of the region, the nations on the Southern continent made their new regional government official on March 11 as the Union Of South American Nations (UNASUR or UNASUL) treaty entered into force. Basing the supranational institution on the European Union model, further integration is still planned and already underway as two socialists were elected to lead the union.

 

 

Foreign Ministers from member nations met in Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador, to finalize the agreement, originally formed in 2008 from a merger of other regional unions including Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations. The Uruguayan legislature ratified the agreement last month, meaning the nine countries required for the treaty to take effect had finally been found. Brazil and Paraguay have not yet approved the pact, but they are part of the arrangement nonetheless.

The bloc includes almost 400 million people and is expected to become the dominant supranational institution for the region in the years ahead. UNASUR started as a coalition of trade and customs treaties encompassing various nations on the continent brought together by Brazilian diplomats. It has since grown to include a regional military integration scheme, gradual reduction of the role of national borders, the elimination of passport and visa requirements between members states and more.

"What we are talking about is for agreements to go much further, not limited to trade issues but also to regional integration," said Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino. He cited mergers of health, education, energy, infrastructure and social security systems as examples of areas for collaboration and harmonization.

According to news reports, Patino said member nations were seeking agreements that go far beyond commerce. The end game would eventually lead to “integration,” a term frequently used by internationalists which refers to the surrender of national sovereignty to international regimes such as the European Union and UNASUR. Another topic on the agenda is the eventual creation of a continental currency along the lines of the Euro.

Among the scheme’s member states are several countries governed by openly socialist despots including revolutionary “President” Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, U.S.-educated Ecuadorian boss Rafael Correa, and former coca farmer Evo Morales of Bolivia, who has already seized vast tracts of land for redistribution. Other nations in UNASUR include Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Uruguay.

Former leftist terrorist
and current president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, is following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, in pushing for further regional integration. Former Brazilian President Lula of the Workers’ Party, along with communist tyrant Fidel Castro and the Sandinistas, formed the socialist “Foro de São Paulo” for the purpose of spreading socialism throughout the region.

The shadowy group — a coalition of socialist and communist political parties, terrorists, drug traffickers and “social movements” — now controls most Latin American governments. It works in close collaboration with Russia, China, and other foreign powers. And one of the group’s stated objectives is deeper ties to spread socialism through regional integration. Clearly, current trends point to the organization’s success.    

Eventually, UNASUR hopes to expand its membership to include Central American and possibly even Caribbean nations. The entire Western Hemisphere already consists of a dizzying patchwork of regional regimes including the largest, the Organization of American States, which the U.S. government belongs to.

In a joint statement released by Brazilian President Rousseff and U.S. President Obama on March 19 calling for a “just and inclusive world order,” the two leaders affirmed what they called “the valuable contributions towards democracy, peace, cooperation, security and development made by regional and sub-regional integration efforts and agreements, including the Union of South American Nations.” The two presidents also said they “valued the dialogue between UNASUL and the United States.”

The European Union-style government for South America also decided upon its new leaders at the meeting — two socialists, one from Colombia and the other from Venezuela. The position of Secretary General of UNASUR is supposed to last for two years, but in this case, two separate people will share power with one-year terms each since the appointment had to be unanimous.

For the first year, former Colombian Foreign Minister María Emma Mejía of the socialist Alternative Democratic Pole party will be in charge. In 2012, socialist Venezuelan “Electricity Minister” Ali Rodriguez — who reportedly had trouble keeping the power on even in the capital city of Caracas — will take over the post.

The regional entity will be headquartered in Ecuador with some of its organs spread out throughout the continent. At the meeting marking the official entry into force of the treaty, Ecuadorian President Correa laid the first stone for the UNASUR headquarters building. And already, the host country’s socialist leader is pushing a broader mandate for UNASUR.

"[A Secretary of Risk Management position] is something indispensable to such a region vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions," Correa said, proposing the creation of a new post in the supranational government to deal with natural disasters. “Even Japan, a developed country and the third largest economy in the world, has requested international aid for the magnitude of the tragedy … We cannot only react, we have to be ready for any contingency."

Meanwhile, socialist Venezuelan dictator Chavez has vowed to use the regional government to create a new international tribunal. Among other things, the court would seek out “war criminals” and those who violate “human rights.” Chavez, it should be noted, has led a fierce crackdown on journalists, judges and other opposition figures while solidifying his decade-long grip on power. Human-rights organizations have frequently criticized his despotic regime, which uses its “petrodollars” to finance “revolution” throughout the region through politics, terror and more.

Among the “accomplishments” being touted by UNASUR is the help it supposedly provided, prior to becoming a legal entity, in toning down a recent conflict between Venezuela and Colombia. But despite there being an alleged “right wing” government ruling Colombia, even that nation’s President expressed strong support for the alliance with the continent — most of which is already ruled by statist extremists.

Photo: Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, left, and Chile's Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Fernando Schmidt attend a meeting of the Union of South AmericanNations (UNASUR) in Quito, Ecuador, March 11, 2011.: AP Images