Union of South American Nations

(Redirected from USAN)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Template:Infobox Geopolitical organization

USAN redirects here. For the United States Adopted Names for pharmaceuticals, see United States Adopted Name

The Union of South American Nations (Template:Lang-nl, Template:Lang-pt, Template:Lang-es, and abbreviated as Unasur and Unasul) is a fledgling supranational and intergovernmental union that will unite two existing free-trade organizations – Mercosur and the Andean Community – as part of a continuing process of South American integration. It is modelled on the European Union.

According to agreements made thus far, the Union's headquarters will be located in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, while the location of its bank, the Bank of the South (Template:Lang-nl, Portuguese: Banco do Sul, Spanish: Banco del Sur), is still under discussion (one proposal would establish it in Quito, Ecuador, as well). The Union's former designation, the South American Community of Nations (Template:Lang-nl, Template:Lang-pt, and Template:Lang-es), abbreviated as CSN; was dropped at the First South American Energy Summit on April 16 2007.[1]

At the 10th meeting of the bloc's Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Cartagena, Colombia, in January 2008, it was agreed that the Unasur/Unasul Treaty will be initialed in June 2008, at the Third Summit of Heads of State of the Union of South American Nations.[2]


At the Third South American Summit, on 8 December 2004, presidents or representatives from twelve South American nations signed the Cuzco Declaration, a two-page statement of intent, announcing the foundation of the South American Community. Panama attended the signing ceremony as an observer.

The leaders announced their intention to model the new community after the European Union, including a common currency, parliament, and passport. According to Allan Wagner, former Secretary General of the Andean Community, a complete union like that of the EU should be possible by 2019.

The mechanics of the new entity came out of the First South American Community of Nations Heads of State Summit, which was held in Brasília on 29 September-30 September 2005. An important operating condition of Unasur/Unasul is that no new institutions will be created in the first phase, so as not to increase bureaucracy, and the community will use the existing institutions belonging to the previous trade blocs. A constitutional treaty is also expected to be drafted.


Simón Bolívar, directly responsible for the independence of Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, part of Peru and Bolivia in the early years of the 19th century, and honored with statues in the capital cities of practically every Latin American country, had the goal of creating a federation of nations to ensure prosperity and security after independence. Bolívar never achieved this goal, and died an unpopular figure because of his heavy-handed attempts to establish strong central governments in the nations he led to independence. Throughout the years, many in South America have called for social, political, and economic union. Unasur/Unasul is supposed to be a concrete step towards the achievement of such union.


At the moment, the provisional structure of the Unasur/Unasul is as follows:

  • The presidents of each member nation will have an annual meeting, this will be the superior political mandate. The first meeting was in Brasília on September 29 and September 30 2005. The second meeting was in Cochabamba (Bolivia) on December 8 and December 9 2006. The third meeting was held in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) in 2007.
  • The ministers of foreign affairs of each country will meet once every six months. They will formulate concrete proposals of action and of executive decision. The President of the Mercosur's permanent representatives committee and the director of the Mercosur's department, the Andean Community's general secretary, ALADI's general secretary and the permanent secretaries of any institution for regional cooperation and integration, Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization among others, will also be present at these meetings.
  • A Secretary General would be elected, to establish a permanent secretariat in Quito, Ecuador. Former Ecuadorian President Rodrigo Borja has been nominated for this position.
  • Sectorial Ministers' meeting will be called up by the presidents. The will be developed according to Mercosur's and CAN's mechanisms.
  • The temporary Presidency will be held for a year and will be rotative among the member countries between each CSN meeting. Former presidents: Peru (2004), Brazil (2005) and Bolivia (2006). According to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue[3] (Template:Lang-nl, Template:Lang-pt, Template:Lang-es), which was signed during the I South American Energy Summit, a general permanent office will be created and this will be hosted in Quito, Ecuador.
  • On December 9 2005 a Commission In Charge of Impulsing the Process of South American Integration (Template:Lang-nl, Template:Lang-pt, Template:Lang-es) was created. It consists of 12 members, whose function is to elaborate proposals that will help the process of integration between the South American nations. These proposals were to be done for the II CSN meeting (2006).
  • Executives Commission, which was created by the II CSN meeting, was transformed in the Political Commission or Delegates Council, according to Decisions Reached in the Political Dialogue[4] (Template:Lang-nl, Template:Lang-pt, Template:Lang-es).
  • It is expected that for the III CSN meeting in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, December 2007, an agreement to constitute Unasur/Unasul will be ready.

Current work in progress

Single market

  • One of the initiatives of Unasur/Unasul is the creation of a single market, beginning with the elimination of tariffs for non-sensitive products by 2014 and sensitive products by 2019.

Infrastructure cooperation

  • Unasur/Unasul started plans of integration through infrastructure cooperation with the construction of the Interoceanic Highway, a road that intends to more firmly link the Pacific Coast countries, especially Chile and Peru with Brazil and Argentina by extending highways through the continent, allowing better connections to ports to Bolivia and the inner parts of Argentina, Peru and Brazil. The first corridor, between Peru and Brazil, began construction in September 2005, financed 60% by Brazil and 40% by Peru, is expected to be ready by the end of 2009.
  • The South American Energy Ring (Anillo Energético Sudamericano/Anel Energético Sul-Americano) is supposed to interconnect Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay with natural gas from several sources, such as the Camisea Gas Project in Peru and Tarija Gas Deposits in Bolivia. Though this proposal has been signed and ratified, economic and political difficulties in Argentina and Bolivia have delayed this initiative, and to this date, this agreement remains more like a protocol than an actual project, since Chile and Brazil are already building LNG terminals to import gas from overseas suppliers.

Free movement of people

  • Visits by South American citizens to any South American country (except French Guyana) of up to 90 days require only the presentation of an Identity Card issued by the respective authority of the travellers' country of origin. On 24 November 2006, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela waived visa requirements for tourism travel between nationals of said countries.[5]

Monetary Policy

Presidents of the 7 founding countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay) officially launched the South American Bank in Buenos Aires in December 2007. All the founding countries were at the ceremony, with the exception of Tabaré Vazquez, from Uruguay. The capital will be US$ 7 Billion, which Venezuela will be responsible for US$ 3B and Brazil US$ 2B. The headquarters will be located in Caracas with offices in Buenos Aires and La Paz.

The "Banco do Sul" will finance economic development projects to improve local competitiveness and to promote the scientific and technologic development of the member countries. Chile and Colombia participated on initial meeting, but they decided not to join the project.

The founding chart affirms that the Bank will promote projects in "stable and equal" manner and priorities will be to reinforce South America integration, to reduce asymmetries, and to promote equalitarian distribution of investments.

The Brazilian Minister Guido Mantega informed that the bank is not similar to the International Monetary Fund; it will be a credit institution similar to the World Bank or the BIRD.

Defense Policy

Venezuela and Brazil have put forward a plan for a South American Defense Council which would draft defense policy and serve as a mechanism for regional security. Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim is seeking approval from other government and the plan is to be put on the agenda of Unasur/Unasul's May 23 meeting.[6]

Participating nations

Full members

¹ These countries are also considered to be associate members of Mercosur
² These countries are also considered to be associate members of the Andean Community.
³ Guyana and Suriname are currently members of CARICOM and entered its single market in 2006. It is unknown if simultaneous Unasur and CARICOM membership would be possible to accomplish and most probably these states will remain Unasur associate members only.

Observer states

Non-participating territories

The following South American areas are dependent territories and therefore do not participate:

Facts and figures

  • Has a GDP at current currency exchange rate of 2,65 trillion dollars as estimated by the IMF in 2006. Due to robust currencies and economies, it is up from 1,506.8 billion in 2005 (World Bank). See List of countries by GDP (nominal).
  • Its population of 361 million people.
  • Covers an area of over 17 million square kilometers, larger than the largest country, Russia
  • The export earnings amount to 181 billion 856 million dollars
  • Possesses 27% of the world's freshwater sources
  • Has eight million square kilometers of forested land and is surrounded by two oceans
  • Is the world's foremost food producer and exporter
  • Its stock of hydrocarbon resources will last 100 years
  • Some 95 percent of its inhabitants share a single religion
  • The great majority of its inhabitants speak one of two languages (Portuguese & Spanish)

Comparison with other regional blocs

Template:Most active regional blocs


File:Cuzco summit.jpg
Dignitaries attend the signing of the Cuzco Declaration.

We are here to make Simón Bolívar's dream real. [...] Sooner, rather than later, we shall have a single currency, a single passport... Sooner, rather than later, we shall have a parliament with directly elected representatives for this new nation that we are creating today. —Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, 8 December 2004.

Step by step CAN and Mercosur will converge becoming the South American Community, but gradually disappearing at the same time. But in spite of the haste there’s no rush, because we could end with an empty declaration. [...] My idea is that in a few months time CAN should be known as South American Community-CAN and Mercosur, South American Community MS, so we have time to get in touch with the new initials. —Former Argentine president Eduardo Duhalde, president of the Mercosur Representatives Committee.

Proposed name change

On 28 December 2005, Chilean former foreign minister Ignacio Walker proposed that the name of the community be changed to South American Union (Dutch: Zuid-Amerikaanse Unie, Portuguese: União Sul-Americana, Spanish: Unión Sudamericana); nevertheless, many members stated to him that that proposal had already been rejected to prevent confusion related to its acronym (U.S.A.).

The name was finally changed on April 16 2007 to "Union of South American Nations" (Template:Lang-nl, Template:Lang-pt, Template:Lang-es), abbreviated "Unasur" in Spanish and "Unasul" in Portuguese. The new name was jointly agreed by all member states during the first day of meeting at the South American Energy Summit held at Isla Margarita, Venezuela.

See also


  1. "Chávez: Presidentes acordaron llamar Unasur a integración política regional" La Tercera, accessed on April 16 2007.
  2. "Eluniversal Daily News" Eluniversal, accessed on January 30 2008.
  3. http://www.comunidadandina.org/ingles/documentos/documents/unasur16-4-07.htm
  4. http://www.comunidadandina.org/ingles/documentos/documents/unasur16-4-07.htm
  5. CNN
  6. "SouthAm to Arrange Regional Defense". Prensa Latina. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-4-19. Check date values in: |accessdate=, |date= (help)

External links


Articles, Editorials, and Reports

Template:Member States of the Union of South American Nations Template:Supranav

ca:Comunitat Sud-Americana de Nacions de:Union Südamerikanischer Nationen eo:Komunumo Sudamerika de Nacioj ia:Communitate Sudamerican de Nationes it:Comunità delle Nazioni del Sud America nl:Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties no:Søramerikanske nasjonenes forbund

Template:WS Template:WH