UNASUR has lost its way

14.09.2009 - Santiago - Tomás Hirsch

Seeing the manner in which South American governments have embarked upon a new unbridled arms race with unforeseeable consequences is regrettable. If, for the present, this hasn’t meant open warfare, tomorrow there will be others governing in the region, and there is nothing to insure that they won’t decide to begin using the purchases made now.

The 7 U.S. bases being constructed in Colombia have had their response in the billions of dollars of arms purchases by Brazil from France, which together with the technological sophistication of Brazil’s weapons industry is a new step on this dangerous path. Venezuela, in turn, so as not to be left behind, has purchased on the Russian market, while Chile constantly renews its air, land and naval power in order to “deter” its neighbors.

Most incredible is the explanation that all of this is not an arms race, but rather simply the modernization of defense systems for combating terrorism and drug trafficking. That reasoning is as illogical as trying to kill a fly with heavy artillery.

UNASUR – Unión de Naciones Suramericanas or the Union of South American Nations – has not taken the high road, instead following the compulsion of a nouveau riche, dangerously augmenting its fire power. The consequences are unknowable. Latin America’s fate has been placed in the hands of its armies. Politicians have already been sidelined, cornered and paralyzed between the military and economic power. The weapons industry continues opening markets, and the global powers have decided to elude the economic crisis by selling arms to the continent. And, our politicians have found a new language to ease their consciences, speaking of “technological renewal”, “combating terrorism and drug trafficking”, “deterrence capability”.

Concerned, I say that UNASUR has lost its way. The enormous arms purchases only reflect the fact that governments reckon that, in future, they will not agree on anything, and only the use of force will prevail in the resolution of conflicts. Let’s be clear, this is contrary to the current attempt at integration. This is simply domination by the strongest over the weakest.

The internal culture clash of Latin American countries, not only with the original communities that have risen up in all America, but also with the urban and youth subcultures and the interminable violence in daily life appears to not be related to this macro violence on the continent. Nevertheless, both are reflections of the same malady, a pandemic of violence is attacking the conscience of the world community.

This is the stage on which the World March for Peace and Nonviolence begins. Only the people can end this collective madness that has started to appear. Let’s not be indifferent to this global action that commences October 2 in New Zealand. Stand up for Peace, for Nonviolence, demand that your government disarm and reduce its weapons budget.

*(Translation provided by Iuslingua LLC)*

Categories: Opinions, Politics, South America

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