South American leaders convene to talk Cooperation

On Tuesday, presidents from South America convened in Brasilia, responding to the Brazilian president's initiative to revive cooperation among the region's nations in energy, crime-fighting, and the economy.

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Unasur, the international organization of south american countries.

The gathering marked a significant event as the regional alliance, previously known as the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), was established 15 years ago to enhance collaboration among the 12 South American countries. However, due to political shifts and polarization in the continent, the group experienced internal divisions and has not convened for the past nine years.

The participation of Venezuela’s authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro led to the withdrawal of several countries, including Brazil in 2019.

The majority of participating presidents currently lean towards leftist or centrist ideologies. On Monday, the Brazilian president held a bilateral meeting with President Maduro, describing it as a “historic moment” for both countries.

In addition to Mr. Maduro, ten other presidents from South America participated in the summit, along with the Council of Ministers leader from Peru. It is noteworthy that the president of Peru, Dina Boluarte, is currently facing charges that prevent her from leaving the country.

During a news conference on Monday, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hinted at the possibility of proposing a regional currency as an alternative to the US dollar, although he clarified that no decisions would be made during the meeting.

“The primary objective is to form a united bloc that can work collectively,” Lula stated.

In Santiago de Chile this week, at the opening meeting of the inauguration of the Regional Conference on South-South Cooperation, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs emphasised the importance of preventing “a third lost decade, akin to the ones experienced in the 1980s and between 2014 and the present year”, according to Prensa Latina.

The official highlighted that Latin America and the Caribbean are currently facing severe problems due to a chronic economic slowdown that predates the pandemic-induced crises, global financial instability, and conflicts in Europe.

Explaining further, the official stated that the average regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has been 0.8% over the past decade and stressed the need for innovative efforts to reverse this negative trend.

Drawing attention to the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations for 2030, the official noted that only a quarter of these goals have been achieved or are on track to be achieved before the proposed deadline. 48% of the goals are progressing in the right direction but not at the required pace, while 27 out of 100 goals are experiencing setbacks.

The complex external circumstances further compound the situation, including the escalating costs of servicing public debt and limitations in financing opportunities.

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