South Americans Shouldn’t Be Distracted by US Military, Says Lula in Bolivia

Presidents Morales and Lula For the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva differences inside the Union of South American Nations, Unasur, are more "a matter of form than content" because "our main objectives are compatible and at the same time convergent," according to an interview in Bolivia's leading newspaper La Razon.

However the Brazilian president, who is visiting Bolivia this Saturday underlined that Unasur needs to find "common and coordinated answers to the challenges of security in the region, beginning with combating drug trafficking and organized crime."

"If we reacted in this way, we would have better conditions to overcome longstanding rivalries and differences, which even today are an obstacle to dialogue and the construction of joint solutions," added Lula.

More specifically, the Brazilian president said he wants to avoid any possible regression for the regional integration process from the controversial military agreement between Colombia and the United States, an issue he will be addressing with Bolivian president Evo Morales.

"The heart of the question it not to allow the bases issue, even when most delicate, to interfere or cause regressions in South America's integration; that's the message from Brazil to Bolivia."

During the last Unasur summit in Quito, Ecuador, Bolivia proposed that all countries which accept the presence of foreign forces in their territory should be expelled from the integration mechanism.

The Quito declaration mentioned no word about this proposal, in spite of Venezuela and Bolivia's protests, but it was agreed to hold an extraordinary meeting in Bariloche, Argentine Patagonia at the end of August to address the issue.

"The question of the US forces deployed in Colombian bases concerns, and very much, Brazil, since it's an element that aggravates tensions in the region, but Brazil also respects Colombian sovereign decisions as long as they are limited to Colombian territory," emphasized the Brazilian leader.

Looking ahead to the Bariloche meeting Brazil would like to see a "frank, pondered, objective" discussion on the US forces/Colombian bases issue.

"If the summit is well guided, the region's position for a bilateral dialogue with the United States would be so much stronger", he said.

Anyhow Brazil's main objective remains South American integration and avoiding situations which could set back the clock.

Regarding South America's possibilities of improving its profile in the world economic map, Lula called for greater competitiveness from production centers, which he described as "the solution" and the instrument to achieve it, "integration".

For that "we need a unified economic space, capable of overcoming the fragmentation of markets and regional infrastructure."

Lula and Morales bilateral agenda includes trade, gas supply, combating drug trafficking, infrastructure investments plus technological and scientific cooperation.

Bolivia, which holds South America's largest natural gas deposits behind Venezuela, has Brazil and Argentina as its virtually only clients.

"Brazil and Bolivia for all they share must always walk together," concluded Lula.



  • Show Comments (3)

  • Lloyd Cata

    Good Bases, Bad Bases, Good Drugs, Bad Drugs
    The US says the troops in Columbia are for ‘drug operations’. This appears to make sense because everyone can see that the US ‘War on Drugs’ has been a total failure since the beginning. Certainly it has been fought differently than the drug wars against the opium producers in Asia. Funny to see marijuana is the US #1 cash crop. Does anyone really believe 800 US troops in Columbia is going to make a difference?
    Columbias sovereignty is not threatened by the arms purchases of VBE. Recently some Swedish small arms sold to Venezuela were found in the hands of the FARC. A major embarrassment for Mr. Chavez. However the FARC has never operated outside Columbian territory and it should not be used as a pretext for US military buildup in SA.
    President Lula is coorect that this US action should not divert from the work of UNASUR. This is only the beginning of the eventual conflict to come.
    As I have said here before, “The US generals have their orders, the Columbian generals have their orders, the VBE generals have their orders, and Brazil will decide the terms of the conflict”.


    well said Joseph
    all though coulmbia was grate duty when i was there a very long time ago.

    is it not funny that VBE can buy arms ,build rams compines from russia , missles from irian , have russian fleet come in and stay for mounths and even have russian bombers and fightes and LULA sais nothing .

    I guess on that day chavas did not have his hand up lulas ass speaking for him and castro .
    a pupet president for a pupet country

    the real reasons they do not want the US there is it will hurt there illeagle actions in the amazon
    the FARC will demand more money for doing business as with drones and IR they can be seen in the jungles .
    another one is it will force the FARC to move baces back to chaves land or into brasil where if caught there brasil will have to anwser some questions they are not wanting to

  • Joseph

    clean up your own house
    If South America can clean up its own house, they will not need americans to come in and do the job. Venezuela and more recently Bolivia and Ecuador are creating more tensions and problems and resolving nothin within their own borders. This creates a need for their rival powers to seek more potent help outside. The American tax payer doesnt want US troops in Columbia so we hope that SA gets its act together and reduces the need for US troops.

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