Argentina and Brazil rejoin South American bloc UNADUR

Brazil announced on Friday (April 7) its official return to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), from which it formally withdrew in April 2019. “As Brazil resumes its main international alliances, it will once again join the Union of South American Nations,” the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

It added that the measure will take effect on May 6 and “places the country back in the group created during President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s second administration.”

“Brazil ratifies its commitment to the consolidation of South America as a zone of peace and cooperation, in line with … promoting regional integration,” the foreign ministry said in another statement. “UNASUR’s revitalization and updating will be a collective process through dialogue among all the countries of the region,” it added. Unasur’s reconstruction has been advocated by Lula since his inauguration in January.

UNASUR, set up by Venezuelan President Hugo Chaves in 2008, is an intergovernmental regional organization and has as active members Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela, with Peru suspended. In 2010, the group was comprised of 12 South American countries.

UNASUR was created to propel regional integration on issues including democracy, education, energy, environment, infrastructure, and security and to eliminate social inequality and exclusion. It was inspired by and modeled after the European Union. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet served as UNASUR’s first president.

Political disagreements marked by right-wing governments have led to the withdrawal of some countries.

Argentina has also announced its return to the bloc as a member state by order of President Alberto Fernández. “We have to guarantee a UNASUR that serves the economic development of our peoples,” President Fernández told a press conference on April 6, expressing a desire to “integrate Chilean, Argentine, Brazilian companies and those from other countries.”

With Argentina and Brazil’s return, the bloc is set to gain strength, and with the encouragement of their heads of state, it is expected to regain some more members this year.