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LATIN AMERICA | 22-04-2019 17:30

Chile announces formal withdrawal from UNASUR

Chile to begin formal proceedings to withdraw from the crumbling UNASUR bloc, which has lost over half of its member nations to the pursuit of a new organisation.

The Chilean government announced Sunday that it will begin proceedings to withdraw from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the regional bloc from which it suspended its membership last year.

Chile believes that UNASUR, founded over a decade ago during the golden age of leftist governments in Latin America, "has moved away from the principles that inspired its creation and today is a highly politicised and ineffective institution."

In this context, "the Government of Chile has decided to consult the National Congress to proceed with the denunciation of the Constitutive Treaty of UNASUR," said a statement released by the Presidency.

Piñera's government pointed out that Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Ecuador, which together with Chile suspended their participation in UNASUR in 2018, also "formally began the process to denounce the Constitutive Treaty and definitively abandon the bloc."

Originally made up of 12 member nations, UNASUR has now been reduced to five--Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Chile also highlighted that the institution has been without a leader since 2017, when it was unable to elect a new general secretary to succeed Colombia’s Ernesto Samper.

In response to the decline of the group, eight South American leaders met in Santiago in March to form the Forum for the Progress of South America (PROSUR). Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay and Peru all signed on.

PROSUR has been born amid the resurgence of the conservative right in Latin America. The exclusion of Venezuela and the rejection of Nicolás Maduro's government serve as other points of unity for the countries involved.

"We want it to be a forum without ideologies, without bureaucracy, a forum of frank and direct dialogue with a clear commitment to the principles of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights," said Piñera.

- TIMES/AFP

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