South American presidents sign Brasília Consensus
Document reaffirms commitment to democracy and human rights
Published on 31/05/2023 - 10:36 By Pedro Rafael Vilela - Agência Brasil - Brasília
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On Tuesday (May 30), the eleven South American presidents convened in Brasília jointly released, at the end of their meeting, the "Brasília Consensus," a document reaffirming shared values and a commitment to deepening discussions on the creation or re-establishment of a cooperation mechanism involving all countries in the region.
The Brasília Consensus highlights "the common vision that South America constitutes a region of peace and cooperation, based on dialogue and respect for the diversity of our peoples, committed to democracy and human rights, sustainable development and social justice, the rule of law and institutional stability, the defense of sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs.
The letter, consisting of nine key points, emphasizes the “importance of maintaining a regular dialogue to boost South American integration and amplify the region's voice in the world."
In pursuit of this goal, the signatories have decided to “establish a contact group led by foreign ministers, tasked with evaluating South American integration mechanisms and drafting a roadmap for integration. The proposals will be presented to the heads of state within approximately four months.”
Earlier in his speech, Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva advocated for the resumption of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur). Created in 2008, during Lula's second mandate, and amid the rise of center-left governments, the group once gathered all the countries in the region, but disintegrated over time, after changes of government in several countries, and now consists of only seven: Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and Peru, besides Argentina and Brazil, which recently rejoined the group.
The resumption of Unasur, however, is not a consensus among the region's leaders. "We have to stop this trend: the creation of organizations. Let's base ourselves on actions," said Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou in a speech at the summit. "When I took over the government, I withdrew from Unasur. Then we were invited to join Prosur [a bloc created in 2019 as a counterpoint to Unasur], and I said no. Because otherwise, we end up being ideological clubs that survive only as long as we march with our ideologies," the Uruguayan president added.
For other presidents, however, Unasur has the potential to articulate actions in several areas. "This mechanism for dialogue and political agreement had the great value of uniting us and opening the possibility of a multidimensional regional construction in several areas, such as defense, security, democracy, human rights, infrastructure, energy, among others," said the president of Bolivia, Luis Arce.
The Brasília Consensus also addresses common challenges faced by the region, including climate crisis, threats to peace and international security, pressures on food and energy chains, the risk of new pandemics, increasing social inequalities, and threats to institutional and democratic stability.
Translation: Mário Nunes - Edition: Nádia Franco/Nira Foster