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  Latin America consolidates?

Auðra Radzevièiûtë
2008 07 10

On May 23 the UNASUR (Union de Naciones Suramericanas) block, which intend to repeat the model of the European Union solidarity, was founded. The headquarters of the alliance will be located in Ecuador, the Parliament in Bolivia and the central bank in Columbia.

President of Brazil L. da Silva noted that it was very important for Brazil to invest as much as possible in economically weaker countries of the continent – Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, since it is necessary to strengthen the positions of those countries.

Maybe responding to this president of Bolivia E Morales announced the country’s revival plan based on the take-over of control over the energy and mining companies: last year the biggest in the country tin company, recently the key gas pipelines company were nationalised; the government expropriated the shares owned by “Royal Dutch Shell” and „Ashmore Energy”.

In spite of the declared optimism, problems regarding the direction of the new union cooperation occurred:  Columbia refuses to support the establishment of the UNASUR defence block (the NATO analogue initiated by the Brazilians). But such format is supported by Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador – they believe that closer military cooperation will allow avoiding border conflicts; it will be possible to better represent the region in international organizations.

Experts say that the implementation of the Latin America union idea will be extremely complicated: with the naked eye one can see different attitudes of the region countries towards safety and other values issues; some countries support the antigovernment organisation FARC operating in Columbia, points of view on the USA also differs from country to country.

Influence of Washington in this region is obviously getting weaker: earlier this region used to “unite” and speak “in one tune” managed from the White House, when today Brazil – the biggest economy of the region and the country which does not hide its ambition to become the political, economical and military centre- takes over the role. Crude oil pools found close to the Brazil coast, boom in ethanol production, plenty of minerals and drinking water have impact on the growth of this country. The same as in China and India, domestic consumption increases in tremendous rates, global ambitions of the country grow respectively, states “The New York Times“.

According to the American press, one gets breathless seeing the statistics presented by Brazilian oil company “Petrobras“ (bigger than BP, Shell and Total) or mining company CVRD. CVRD shrugs off the USA market with its too many problems, and turns towards Asia, which has a great future in front.

Though Latin America is still referred to as a synonym for political instability, social inequality and poverty, changes are obvious. President of Brazil has set a goal to overcome the problems of poverty and social disjuncture, the program “Zero Hunger” being implemented in the country provides support for families living below the poverty line; assistance for people to start small businesses is available, tax privileges are being applied.

So, what is the future of Latin America? Nobel Prize Laureate, former president of Costa Rika J.de la Mori said: “We will never be able to be sure that we are on the right way in the creation of modern society if we close our eyes and do not see the tremendous abyss, which separates the rich and the poor in Latin America. Our posterity will be condemned for “a hundred of years of loneliness” if we mistakenly think that democracy may exist surrounded by incredible injustice”. Besides, the future of Latin America mostly depend also on the understanding of the country leaders that “the time to start a real crusade in the area of education and to allocate huge funds for it has come”.

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