Lula receives South American leaders at Itamaraty for regional summit

Leaders from 11 of the 12 countries in South America meet this Tuesday in Brasilia to discuss an integration model for the region

Lula at regional summit

Lula at regional summit

Photo: reproduction

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) was present at the Itamaraty Palace, in Brasília, this Tuesday morning, 30, for the summit promoted by Brazil with all South American heads of state.

The government’s idea is to resume cooperation in the region and discuss the adoption of a integration forum with the 12 countries.

Organized by the Brazilian government, the meeting manages to bring together the South American heads of state, with the exception of the president of Peru, Dina Boluarte, who sent the president of the Council of Ministers, Alberto Otárola, to the country.

Dina took over the Peruvian government after Pedro Castillo was ousted for attempting a coup d’état and, for constitutional reasons and in the midst of the local political crisis, she was unable to leave Peru.

Itamaraty confirmed the presence of the presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernandezfrom the Bolivia, Louis Mapleof Chile, Gabriel Boricfrom the Colombia, Gustavo Petroof Ecuador, Guillermo Lassofrom Guyana, Irfaan Ali, from ParaguayMario Abdo Benítez, from Suriname, Chan Santokhi, from UruguayLuis Lacalle Pou, and Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro.

The summit schedule foresees an opening speech by Lula and pronouncements by all heads of state. In the afternoon, there will be informal conversations in a reduced format – the presidents can only take their chancellor and, at most, two more advisers.

In the evening, the delegations will attend a dinner organized by Lula and the first lady Janja da Silva at the Alvorada Palace. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the idea of ​​the summit is to be a kind of “retreat” – that is, to create the opportunity for an informal dialogue, an exchange of ideas to resume ties that have been strained in recent years.

It will be a very restricted format, with the presidents accompanied by only three other people. This Tuesday night, Lula will host a dinner at the Alvorada Palace.

At this first moment, says the Itamaraty, the summit’s proposal is to identify minimum common denominators to start the South American dialogue which, depending on the negotiation between the heads of state, may result in a forum or a bloc larger than the Union. of South American Nations (Unasur), inactive in recent years. Unasur brings together 7 countries in South America and has not had a formal meeting since 2014.

There is also the expectation of bilateral meetings between Lula and part of the heads of state present. Yesterday, the PT party received the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, on an official visit, in a gesture criticized for the lack of questioning of human rights violations in the neighboring country.

Organized by the Brazilian government, the meeting marks the president’s strategy Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to project Brazilian leadership in the region and the country’s diplomatic role.

The ideological divergences between the leaders present at the meeting, the lack of a clear agenda and even the uncertainty about whether or not there will be a relaunch of the former Union of South American Nations (unasur) create doubts about the practical outcome of the summit, according to diplomats.

Once identified with leftist leaders, the organization was gradually abandoned by member countries and became paralyzed. Currently, only seven nations are part of the body, which no longer has thematic committees and active councils. There is no budget. Even the headquarters in Ecuador, inaugurated in Quito in 2014, the year of the last summit held, stopped working.

In practice, however, leaders will debate what kind of integration model they want. Even the name of the “bloc” can change, as well as its operation, periodicity and headquarters. The Lula government proposes that the multilateral consultation mechanism be permanent, with the profile of the State, instead of being subject to the conveniences and ideology of the current government.

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