Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has proposed creating a for South America at a summit of regional leaders in Brasilia.
Lula urged state banks across the continent to work together to reduce dependence on “extra-regional currencies” for trade, without mentioning the US dollar by name.
Amid a renewed left-wing tide in the region, the Brazilian leader organized the South America Summit to help revive the Unasur bloc, which had largely become defunct after it was shunned by right-wing leaders in recent years.
“As long as we’re not united, we won’t make South America a developed continent in all its potential,” Lula said.
South American leaders call for unity
The summit was attended by 12 South American leaders in an attempt to foster closer integration between neighbors.
“Latin America must play a united role and have a united voice,” Colombian President Gustavo Petro told journalists as he arrived at the gathering.
The only South American head of state not to attend was of Peru, who is unable to leave the country as she faces criminal charges.
Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otarola attended in her absence.
Venezuela welcomed back into the fold
Venezuelan leader , after years of isolation by right-wing leaders like Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, who labeled the socialist leader a “dictator.”
Lula criticized US sanctions against Venezuela and said claims that its government is authoritarian are a “narrative” pushed by Western countries.
He said it is up to Maduro to “make Venezuela a sovereign country once again. And our opponents will have to apologize for the damage they’ve done.”
Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez also expressed support for Venezuela to return to international bodies.
Chile’s Gabriel Boric said he disagreed with some of Lula’s remarks on Venezuela, adding that the region needs to respect human rights. However, he nevertheless welcomed the resumption of multilateral talks involving Maduro.
zc/nm (AP, Reuters, dpa)