From: Gerald Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@msn.com)
Date: Tue May 27 2008 - 08:51:02 EDT

"The countries that make up UNASUR are Venezuela, Colombia, 
Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, 
Surinam, and Uruguay, encompassing a total population of 380 million 


"South American Nations Form New Regional Grouping: UNASUR"

 May 24th 2008, by James Suggett - Venezuelanalysis.com  

Mérida, May 24, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)-- At a summit in 
Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, 12 South American countries formally 
constituted the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), a regional 
integration initiative which began informally in 2004. At the Summit, 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Colombian President Álvaro Uribe 
shook hands respectfully, and Colombia remained the only country 
which declined to participate in the proposed South American Defense 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez described UNASUR as the culmination 
of the region's search for unity since South American independence 
two centuries ago. "Only in unity will we later have, progressively, 
complete political, economic, cultural, scientific, technological, 
and military independence," Chávez commented.  
The temporary president of UNASUR, Chilean President Michelle 
Bachelet, said the new grouping will help the region "contribute to 
the construction of this new 21st century, where Latin America is 
capable of having a strong and firm voice because we have been able 
to initiate a process of effective integration."

Bachelet highlighted the potential for UNASUR to promote economic and 
social development in the region. At the top of the organization's 
agenda should be combating poverty, eradicating illiteracy, and 
coordinating university programs so as to facilitate the movement of 
professionals throughout the region, she said. Also being 
contemplated is a regional citizenship.

Having successfully formed UNASUR, "South America acquires the status 
of global actor," said the President of Brazil, Luis Inacio "Lula" da 

Lula assured that UNASUR is open to other Latin American countries in 
the region, and the foundational treaty signed Friday should not be 
perceived as "a finality."

"Our Caribbean neighbors are invited to associate themselves with the 
union. UNASUR is born in this way, open to the entire region in the 
spirit of diversity and pluralism," said the Brazilian president.  
Lula also emphasized his administration's proposal to create a South 
American Defense Council "founded on common values and principles 
such as respect for sovereignty, self-determination, territorial 
integrity of states, and non-intervention in internal affairs."

Such a council will help UNASUR members "deepen our South American 
identity in the area of defense," Lula said, assuring that "our armed 
forces are committed to the construction of peace."

The presidents at the summit agreed to form a commission that will 
come up with a proposal for the defense council within 90 days. The 
countries will then meet sometime in the second half of this year to 
officially form the council.


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