South American integration is "advancing fast and with our own resources," said Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Friday, July 18,Â during a regional summit in Amazônia with the presidents of Bolivia and Venezuela
Lula said the process has picked up speed following the creation of the Unasur (Union of South American Nations),which "enabled the reactivation of an ambitious infrastructure project" to which several countries of the region are committed.
"Less than two months ago in Brasília we signed the treaty creating Unasur, a treaty which has meant overcoming the inertia of resistances which for 200 years of independent life have impeded our unity," underlined the Brazilian president.
"The reactivation of this infrastructure project which links several countries is evidence that the integration process in South America is advancing fast and with our own resources", said Lula, who during the meeting signed an agreement awarding Bolivia a US$ 230 million credit for the construction of a highway linking the landlocked country with Brazil.
"With Unasur which is the political-institutional expression of this new regional concept, we can do far more," he added.
Lula said that the integration process not only means road links but also energy and financial integration, effective cooperation plus social and educational policies and the creation of integrated production chains through joint investments in strategic sectors.
But the Brazilian president also sent a political message saying that the integration commitment "should be characterized by frank and open dialogue and the permanent search for consensus, always respecting our diversity and the path, democratically chosen, by each of us."
Lula then added next to Bolivia's Evo Morales and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez whom face serious, sometimes violent, internal dissent that "the overwhelming majority of our peoples long for development, security, democracy and social justice", and "that is why our peoples have nothing to gain with confrontations and clashes, which are ultimately sterile."