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  • Eduardo Duhalde, former President of Argentina

    Eduardo Duhalde, former President of Argentina | Photo: EFE

Published 14 January 2019

Eduardo Duhalde, former president of Argentina says that "getting into the internal problems of other countries is a very serious error"

Colombian President Iván Duque announced in an interview to the radio program "Oye Calí" of the Colombian radio station 96.3 FM RadioPlay his intention, together with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, to dissolve the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

The former president of Argentina, Eduardo Duhalde, who governed his country from January 2002 to May 2003, is the author of the book "Comunidad Sudamericana - Achievements and Challenges of Integration." In his book, he shares the intimacies of a dialogue with other presidents of Latin America at the moment of handing power over to his successor Néstor Kirchner in 2003. There were Alvaro Uribe from Colombia, Hugo Chávez from Venezuela, Alejandro Toledo from Peru, Alfredo Palacio from Ecuador and Ricardo Lagos de Chile, among others, with their political and ideological differences, in some cases deep and irreconcilable. However, Duhalde said that they were taking "the first steps of a road that will not have a return". Now it seems that such integration may be left behind. To understand the current state of UNASUR and the Colombian initiative, NODAL spoke with the former president.

You were one of the promoters of UNASUR. Colombian President Iván Duque said he is working with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera to eliminate it because of the situation in Venezuela and that they are looking to create a new regional organization whose name would be PROSUR. What do you think about it?

The subject of the name has little importance. But to create an organization to make the same mistakes for which the MERCOSUR and the UNASUR failed seem to me not to be intelligent people. What is the big mistake they made? ideologizing what it was to unite the 12 South American countries in a large market having a number of anchors works, a physical integration, energy integration. That was what mattered when we created MERCOSUR and UNASUR with the Andean community. But the mistake was that, politicize it, and now we are in it. The issue of Venezuela, in my opinion, coincides with that of all countries, but that does not mean creating a structure with a purely ideological purpose, it is to repeat the same error.

Why was UNASUR created at the time? Does it have a reason to be if there are serious problems with a country, in this case Venezuela?

How can integration not matter if it is the largest integrated space in the world with two million square kilometers (2,000,000 km2)? It is more than Russia, which is the largest country and we have all the climates, all the possibilities, but as long as we do not deal with the ideological theme. I believe that the European economic community and the European Union have pointed the way later. There may be countries that are socialist, right-wing countries, and that does not prevent them from being integrated. The truth is that I regret the mistake made by the leaders, first with Paraguay, a small country that took a decision within its rules and separated it from MERCOSUR, a shame. Getting into the internal problems of other countries is a very serious error.

Why did no one propose to dissolve UNASUR when it did not allow the former president of Brazil Lula da Silva to run for election last year and now they maintain that there is no democracy in Venezuela? Does the complicated situation in this country merit dissolution?

With the case of Comrade Lula, exactly the same happens. That is, they reprioritize decisions for an ideological reason. This is what I have been condemning and I will continue to do it because the only way to have a decisive presence at the level of nations is an integration. The model for me has always been the European Economic Community and then the European Union. Until that is understood, we will keep repeating the same mistakes. That is the problem, decisions are made for themselves or not simply because of the ideological positions of those who are predominant in the region.

Obviously, there is a majority sector that returns to the ideological positions but now of the extreme right or of usurer capitalism. I believe that when the waters fall, when everything is calm, we will have to create a large South American market to include Latin American countries later, with a large market we would be powerful. Now if we insist on the ideological theme that handles situations, it is no longer useful and we will not be able to get out of this well.

Previously published on NODAL written by Pedro Brieger

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