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News > Latin America

Colombia Announces Unasur Withdrawal, Expects Others to Follow

  • Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo during Friday's press conference.

    Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo during Friday's press conference. | Photo: EFE

Published 10 August 2018

The announcement was made only three days after right-wing politician Ivan Duque was sworn in as president of Colombia.

The Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo announced Friday the country would officially withdraw from the Union of South American Nations (Unasur).

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Newly-elected President Ivan Duque had previously expressed he would abandon the South American regional integration mechanism. On June 30, during an official visit to the United States, Duque invited other South American nations to leave Unasur. 

“I expressed my desire to continue to strengthen the Inter-American system and, in that sense, South American countries have much to do. The first thing is to invite countries to leave Unasur, which has really been an organization that has become an accomplice to Venezuela’s dictatorship,” Duque said in Washington D.C.

The announcement was made as the Venezuelan government was revealing new evidence tying former opposition legislator Julio Borges to the frustrated assassination attempt against democratically elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Aug. 4.

Borges is currently living in Colombia's capital city, Bogota. The Venezuelan government had also requested Colombia to extradite Borges so he can be tried as the intellectual author of the attack. This seems unlikely after the recent "irreversible" announcement by Colombia's Foreign Affairs minister. 

Trujillo also said the Colombian government is currently holding diplomatic conversations with Peru, Argentina, and Chile "who apparently wish to take the same path."

Colombia's announcement deepens the crisis Unasur is facing, which began in April, when the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, six of the international body’s 12 member states announced their “temporary” withdrawal.

The countries argued Unasur lacked direction and leadership.

Since January 2017 the presidency of Unasur had remained vacant because governments were unable to reach consensus on who would replace former Colombian president Ernesto Samper.

Samper has warned dismantling Unasur would be a "historical error." During an interview with teleSUR in May said there are "voices of disintegration that would prefer for all of us to meet in Washington," stressing the Organization of American States had not worked for South America. 

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