Moreno Deals a Blow to UNASUR

By Juan Manuel Karg on March 15, 2019

Statue of Nestor Kirshner in front of UNASUR building, Quito

Lenin Moreno’s Ecuador has asked for the definitive exit from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the South American regional organization created in 2008 in Brazil to counter U.S. sway in the region. After Colombia, it is the second country to make such a decision. When Ivan Duque, Alvaro Uribe’s little dolphin pulled Colombia out of the Union it could be expected considering their vision of Latin America and the world. Moreno, however, arrived at his presidency with the votes of Rafael Correa, but he then took a radical U- turn which led him right into the waiting arms of the International Monetary Fund. He not only recently recognized and received the self-proclaimed Venezuelan president Juan Guaidó, he has also has taken on being the standard-bearer for the end of UNASUR.

The news is one more step in the long process of deterioration of an organization that has not had a Secretary General since the departure of former Colombian President Ernesto Samper. Besides the convert Moreno, who appears to be taking his orders from others, why is Ecuador leading the attack?

One reason Moreno has been anointed is because Equator is the country that houses the Half the World building where UNASUR used to function on a daily basis.

During the announcement Moreno, in an attempt to inject some ideology, voiced his criticisms of “21st century socialism” with Chile’s conservative president Sebastián Piñera in natural agreement in the audience. Moreno used this moment to point at the dramatic situation in Venezuela for internal consumption as the elections of mayors and other government officials approaches on March 24 in Ecuador.

It’s been a while since Lenin became Moreno. Those of us who in the past characterized his electoral triumph as a possible brake on the conservative advance in the region must look ourselves in the mirror as must Correa who passed him the presidential sash and today has to resist the attacks of his former lieutenant in a bitter exile in Brussels.

After all, Moreno, advised by Durán Barba, ended up implementing a domestic and foreign policy formula very similar to that of Argentina’s Mauricio Macri; rely on the rescue of the IMF, a reorientation of foreign policy in direct alignment with Washington, adjustment in the structure of the State, and a strong policy of intimidation to sectors of the opposition. Both of these reactionary presidents seems to have retreated to a position of, “If there is nothing to show for the economy, at least let’s impose firmness.”

Moreno also announced the removal of the monument to former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner that stood in front of the headquarters of UNASUR. This in and of itself needs to be written about because it shows a maximum expression and absolute disdain for the memory of a politician who, at the command of the General Secretariat of the bloc, carried out the historic Cartagena Agreement between Hugo Chávez and Juan Manuel Santos, avoiding a possible military conflict that dated back to the time of Uribe. Moreno’s lunge, planned outside Ecuador, is not only intended to lead to the end of UNASUR, but also to the long integrationist heritage that our countries and peoples of Latin America have had for two centuries.

Source: Pagina 12, translation Resumen Latinoamercano, North America bureau