Lula grasps at South American unity

Briefly: Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is back on the world stage, and he’s hosted a summit to prove it. On Tuesday the leaders of 12 South American countries met in Brasilia to try and resuscitate the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), a bloc which last met nine years ago.

The leaders reportedly discussed the possibility of a currency union, a regional energy market, and deeper security integration.

But unity proved elusive on at least one point: Venezuela. 

  • 👐 On the one hand you have leaders like Lula, who welcomed Venezuela’s president to the summit and said the idea of an anti-democratic Venezuela was a “narrative” promoted by the West.
  • 🙅 But others like the leader of Chile pushed back, highlighting the serious human rights issues in Venezuela and encouraging fellow leaders not to “bury our head in the sand”.

Intrigue’s take: There’s been a real alphabet soup of Latin American regional blocs over the years: CELAC, ALBA, CASA, SICA, AP, PIM, MERCOSUR, UNASUR… the list goes on, and it’s tempting to respond with yet another acronym: WTF.

Many of these blocs have struggled to gain traction. They fade away, another is born, or an old one (like UNASUR) is revived. And the problem’s not generally the bloc, or its mandate, or even its leadership. It’s more the ideological divisions that run through the region, both within and between countries.

But when Latin America does find a durable path forward, there’s a good chance it can leave an admiring world uttering a new acronym: OMG.

Also worth noting:

  • In 2018, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru suspended their participation in UNASUR. The President of Colombia announced his country would be rejoining this week.
  • Around half a million displaced Venezuelans now live in Chile. Those in Chile for five years or more can vote, even if they’re not citizens.
Latest Author Articles
The geopolitical risks for the world’s top 10 brands

We’re normally pretty suspicious of anyone who substitutes their ‘s’ with a ‘z’ to look cool, but we’ll give the UK-based ‘Kantar BrandZ Report 2024’ a pass (or is it ‘pasz’?).

13 June, 2024
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund to vote against biggest pay package in history for Tesla CEO Musk

Norway’s $1.6T wealth fund announced on Saturday it’ll vote against a $56B pay package for Tesla CEO Elon Musk ahead of this week’s shareholder meeting.

11 June, 2024
Major parliamentary election kicks off to shape EU’s future

380 million eligible voters across the EU’s 27 members start voting today (Thursday) to choose the next European Parliament.

6 June, 2024
China’s Shein to switch from New York to London IPO?

Shein, China’s fast-fashion colossus, is reportedly set to file for a London listing as soon as this week, though the timeline for the actual float isn’t yet clear. The brand, which gained popularity in recent years by selling hyper-cheap and hyper-trendy clothes online, is aiming to sell $1.3B in shares at a valuation of ~$64B.

4 June, 2024