Brazil has officially withdrawn from the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) to become a member of the Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur). The decision was officially announced Monday (Apr. 15) by Brazil’s Foreign Ministry to the government of Ecuador, where the bloc headquarters are located. According to international rules, however, Brazil must remain in the group for another six months.
“In April 2018, the governments of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru jointly decided to suspend their participation in Unasur due to a long-lasting crisis in the organism—a state of affairs that has not changed since then,” the Brazilian Foreign Ministry reported. Brazil’s exit from Unasur was also confirmed in a tweet yesterday (16) by President Jair Bolsonaro.
The creation of Prosur was formalized on March 22, in Santiago, Chile. On the occasion, representatives from eight South American countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Guiana, and Peru—signed the Santiago Declaration, which sets forth the essential requirements for joining the forum: democracy in full effect, respect for the separation of state branches, liberty and human rights, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The format of Prosur, as it was originally conceived by Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, is more flexible, streamlined, less burdensome, and should be dedicated to initiatives between member countries and joint efforts for the development of the region. Among the topics to be covered are integration in infrastructure, energy, health care, defense, security, and anti-crime measures, as well as prevention and management of natural disasters.
Prosur nations understand that Unasur, the way it has operated since its creation in 2008, has lost its practical effects and maintained costs, and started discussing issues addressed by other entities, like Mercosur. Prosur will not have a treaty and will not be an organism, as Unasur is.
After the launch of Prosur and the withdrawal from Unasur, diplomatic authorities from Prosur member countries should focus on work groups to build the foundations for the community of nations.