Most South American Leaders Threaten To Boycott EU-Latin American Summit
5/5/2010 6:18 PM ET
Most South American nations have decided to boycott an EU-Latin American summit in Spain in protest against the invitation extended to newly-elected Honduran President Porfirio Lobo for attending the summit, South American leaders attending the UNASUR summit in Argentina said Wednesday.
“There is unease shared by most of us that will prevent a lot of UNASUR countries from attending the summit,” said Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, whose country is the current holder of the bloc’s rotating presidency.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that most Latin American leaders would reverse their decision to boycott the EU-Latin American summit that begins in Spain on 18th May if Spain cancels its invitation extended to Lobo.
“We don’t want to boycott the summit. We want Spain to come to its senses,” Chavez said. “I am sure most of us will go” if Lobo was uninvited.
Brazil also threatened to withdraw from the EU-Latin American summit over the issue, with an aide to Brazilian leader Lula da Silva saying that “at least 10 Latin American presidents will not go to Madrid, starting with the president of Brazil” if Lobo attends the summit.
Lobo was elected the president of Honduras in the November elections, which was overseen by the interim government that ousted former President Manuel Zelaya in a military-backed coup on 28th June 2009.
Most South American socialist leaders consider his rule to be illegitimate, claiming that he was elected in unconstitutional elections that followed the coup. They still back the reinstatement of Zelaya as the Honduran President.
Most countries in the 12-member South American Union of Nations (UNASUR) have not recognized Lobo’s government. Among UNASUR members, only the right-wing governments in Colombia and Peru have followed the lead of their ally the United States in recognizing his presidency.
The UNASUR came into being after leaders of twelve South American nations signed a treaty in Brasilia on 24th May 2008 to set up the bloc, which is modeled on the European Union. It was set up to serve as a counterpoint to the Organization of American States (OAS) and other regional organizations dominated by Washington.
The main objective of the UNASUR treaty is to strengthen the cooperation between the member states, mainly in the areas of defense, economy, finances, social development and culture. It also aims for the integration of energy and transportation networks and immigration policies among member countries.
The twelve member-countries of the union include Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Equator, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and Surname.
by RTT Staff Writer
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