Union of South American Nations
The Union of South American Nations (Dutch:
Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties, Portuguese: União de
Nações Sul-Americanas, Spanish: Unión de
Naciones Suramericanas, and abbreviated as UNASUR and UNASUL)
is a supranational and intergovernmental union that will unite
two existing customs unions - Mercosur and the Andean Community
- as part of a continuing process of South American integration.
It is modelled on the European Union.
The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty was signed
on May 23, 2008, at the Third Summit of Heads of State, held in
Brasília, Brazil.  According to the Constitutive Treaty,
the Union's headquarters will be located in Quito, Ecuador. The
South American Parliament will be located in Cochabamba, Bolivia,
while its bank, the Bank of the South (Dutch: Bank van het Zuiden,
Portuguese: Banco do Sul, Spanish: Banco del Sur), will be located
in Bogota, Colombia. The Union's former designation, the South
American Community of Nations (Dutch: Zuid-Amerikaanse Statengemeenschap,
Portuguese: Comunidade Sul-Americana de Nações,
and Spanish: Comunidad de Naciones Sudamericanas), abbreviated
as CSN, was dropped at the First South American Energy Summit
on April 16, 2007.
At the Third South American Summit on
8 December 2004, presidents or representatives from twelve South
American nations signed the Cuzco Declaration, a two-page statement
of intent announcing the foundation of the South American Community.
Panama attended the signing ceremony as an observer.
The leaders announced their intention
to model the new community after the European Union including
a common currency, parliament, and passport. According to Allan
Wagner Tizón, former Secretary General of the Andean Community,
a complete union like that of the EU should be possible by 2019.
The mechanics of the new entity came out
of the First South American Community of Nations Heads of State
Summit, which was held in Brasília on 29 September-30 September
2005. An important operating condition of UNASUR is that no new
institutions will be created in the first phase, so as not to
increase bureaucracy, and the community will use the existing
institutions belonging to the previous trade blocs.
Simón Bolívar, directly
responsible for the independence of Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela,
and parts of Peru and Bolivia in the early years of the 19th century,
and honored with statues in the capital cities of practically
every Latin American country, had the goal of creating a federation
of nations to ensure prosperity and security after independence.
Bolívar never achieved this goal, and died an unpopular
figure because of his heavy-handed attempts to establish strong
central governments in the nations he led to independence. Throughout
the years, many in South America have called for social, political,
and economic union. UNASUR is intended to be a concrete step towards
the achievement of such union.
Michelle Bachelet, President pro tempore.
At the moment, the provisional structure
of the UNASUR is as follows:
0. The presidents of each member nation
will have an annual meeting, which will be the superior political
mandate. The first meeting was in Brasília (Brazil) on
September 29 and September 30, 2005. The second meeting was in
Cochabamba (Bolivia) on December 8 and December 9, 2006. The third
meeting was held in Brasília on May 23, 2008.
0. The ministers of foreign affairs of each country will meet
once every six months. They will formulate concrete proposals
of action and of executive decision. The President of the Mercosur's
permanent representatives committee and the director of the Mercosur's
department, the Andean Community's general secretary, ALADI's
general secretary and the permanent secretaries of any institution
for regional cooperation and integration, Amazon Cooperation Treaty
Organization among others, will also be present at these meetings.
0. A Secretary General would be elected, to establish a permanent
secretariat in Quito, Ecuador.
0. Sectorial Ministers' meeting will be called upon by the presidents.
The meetings will be developed according to Mercosur's and CAN's
0. The temporary Presidency will be held for a year and will rotate
among the member countries between each CSN meeting. According
to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue (Dutch: Besluiten
Bereikt in de Politieke Dialoog, Portuguese: Decisões Tomadas
no Diálogo Político, Spanish: Decisiones Alcanzadas
en el Diálogo Político), which was signed during
the I South American Energy Summit, a general permanent office
will be created and this will be hosted in Quito, Ecuador.
0. On December 9, 2005 a special commission was established in
charge of advancing the process of South American Integration
(Dutch: Commissie Belast met Impulsing van het Proces van de Zuid-Amerikaanse
Integratie, Portuguese: Comissão Estratégica de
Reflexão sobre o Processo de Integração Sul-americana,
Spanish: La Comisión Estratégica de Reflexión
a cargo de formular propuestas con miras a impulsar el proceso
de integración sudamericano en todos sus aspectos). It
consists of 12 members, whose function is to elaborate proposals
that will help the process of integration between the South American
0. Executive Commission, which was created by the II CSN meeting,
was transformed in the Political Commission or Delegates Council,
according to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue (Dutch:
Besluiten Bereikt in de Politieke Dialoog, Portuguese: Decisões
Tomadas no Diálogo Político, Spanish: Decisiones
Alcanzadas en el Diálogo Político).
Current work in progress
President of UNASUR member states during
the initial of the treaty on May 23, 2008.
At the present time the union exists only
on paper. The signing of the treaty was delayed from March until
late May due to a Colombian raid on a FARC camp in Ecuador, and
disputes regarding the conflict and broader trade issues continue
to pose an obstacle. Michael Shifter of the Washington D.C. Inter-American
Dialogue called UNASUR a "pipe dream", while saying
that "economic conditions in the region have never been riper
for this sort of integration".
0. One of the initiatives of UNASUR is
the creation of a single market, beginning with the elimination
of tariffs for non-sensitive products by 2014 and sensitive products
0. There is an Initiative for Infrastructure
Integration of South America (IIRSA) underway, which has received
the support of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Andean
0. UNASUR started plans of integration through infrastructure
cooperation with the construction of the Interoceanic Highway,
a road that intends to more firmly link the Pacific Coast countries,
especially Chile and Peru with Brazil and Argentina by extending
highways through the continent, allowing better connections to
ports to Bolivia and the inner parts of Argentina, Peru and Brazil.
The first corridor, between Peru and Brazil, began construction
in September 2005, financed 60% by Brazil and 40% by Peru, is
expected to be ready by the end of 2009.
0. The South American Energy Ring (Dutch: Zuid-Amerikaanse energie-Ring,
Portuguese: Anel Energético Sul-Americano, Spanish: Anillo
Energético Sudamericano) is intended to interconnect Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay with natural gas from several
sources, such as the Camisea Gas Project in Peru and Tarija Gas
Deposits in Bolivia. Though this proposal has been signed and
ratified, economic and political difficulties in Argentina and
Bolivia have delayed this initiative, and to date, this agreement
remains more like a protocol than an actual project, since Chile
and Brazil are already building LNG terminals to import gas from
Free movement of people
0. Visits by South American citizens to
any South American country (except French Guiana) of up to 90
days require only the presentation of an identity card issued
by the respective authority of the travellers' country of origin.
On 24 November 2006, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia,
Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela
waived visa requirements for tourism travel between nationals
of said countries.
Presidents of the seven founding countries
(Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela and
Uruguay) officially launched the South American Bank in Buenos
Aires in December 2007. The heads of all the founding countries
were at the ceremony, with the exception of President Tabaré
Vazquez of Uruguay. The capital will be US$7b, with Venezuela
responsible for US$3b and Brazil US$2b. The headquarters will
be located in Caracas with offices in Buenos Aires and La Paz.
The Banco do Sul will finance economic
development projects to improve local competitiveness and to promote
the scientific and technological development of the member countries.
Chile and Colombia participated on initial meeting, but they decided
not to join the project.
The founding chart affirms that the Bank
will promote projects in "stable and equal" manner and
priorities will be to reinforce South America integration, to
reduce asymmetries, and to promote egalitarian distribution of
The Brazilian Minister Guido Mantega stated
that the bank is not similar to the International Monetary Fund;
it will be a credit institution similar to the World Bank or the
Venezuela and Brazil have put forward
a plan for a South American Defense Council which would draft
defense policy and serve as a mechanism for regional security.
The proposal is currently under discussion by the member states.
Colombia has not entered the defense agreement due to the ongoing
2008 Andean diplomatic crisis with Ecuador and Venezuela, and
their alleged support for the armed group FARC. However it has
accepted reviewing the proposal, and will make a decision in 90