Chancellor José Valencia explained that the aim is to improve the functioning of the regional body, which includes leaving the headquarters in the Middle of the World. The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) remains in intensive care.
The regional body lost six of its 12 member countries and could not appoint a new secretary since 2017. It also registers a deficit of $ 20 million, because the member countries have not canceled their annual quotas. Under this scenario, Ecuador will try to change Unasur by reducing its competences and rescuing its positive tasks.
That was announced last week by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Valencia. The chancellor said that this year will be key to change the regional body. In his opinion, Unasur should be strengthened in matters of security coordination, defense, infrastructure and coordination of ministries of health of South America.
Ecuador hopes that these changes will be consolidated in February. It also encourages Unasur to leave the building located in the Middle of the World, to occupy a building in the Historic Center of Quito. Last year, President Lenin Moreno questioned the underutilization of the Unasur building in the Middle of the World, which cost $ 45 million. And he said that in that place will be the University of the Indigenous Nationalities and Peoples.
Now Ecuador proposes that Unasur has an alternative headquarters “smaller, more real and more adjusted to the needs of the agency,” said Valencia. The proposal is well received by the analyst Santiago Orbe. He believes that the Ecuadorian request is viable because “there are latent and common economic considerations among the member countries.”
For Margarita Dueñas, an expert in International Relations, the Valencia initiative intends, moreover, not to lose the benefits of having a current regional organization. However, he acknowledged that compliance will depend on political will. “At the moment, the picture is not encouraging, because of the division in the region over the issue of Venezuela.”
Meanwhile, at Unasur headquarters, two officials explained to this newspaper the uncertainty they live. “Nobody has told us anything about taking UNASUR to the center of Quito,” said a secretary, who asked not to be identified. While another worker said that they expect Bolivia, which has the pro tempore presidency, to hand over the guidelines to continue working. (I)