Opinion: Let's stop creating more regional organizations in Latin America

The constant political changes in the region make many regional organizations in Latin America quickly lose relevance .

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LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Opinión: Dejemos de crear más organismos regionales en Latinoamérica

With the recent arrival of Garbiel Boric to the presidency of Chile, the Latin American political landscape has been shaken and the formation of regional organizations may undergo changes. The new Chilean president has already warned that he will leave PROSUR, considering it an organization with political ideologies.

But Boric may not be the only one. This year there are 2 crucial elections coming up in South America. The two countries with the largest population on the continent (Brazil and Colombia) will elect their president. It is very likely that in one or both cases, the left will win and this would cast doubt on the continuity of groups such as the aforementioned PROSUR or some other organization. The time has come to refine the list of international institutions and only keep those that can actually give results and benefits.

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Currently, we have organizations such as Mercosur, Prosur, Unasur, the Organization of American States, the Pacific Alliance, CELAC, Alba, the Andean Community, the Central American Integration System, IDB, the Lima Group, ALADI, CARICOM, and Thus, there are dozens of regional integration organizations in Latin America and it seems that every so often, a new one is created. Depending on the governments in power and the political interests of each of these, there is a new one.

But this not only demonstrates an ineffective integration strategy that has been characteristic of the entire history of the continent, but also that it has been based on the accompaniment of the United States or the political interests of the government in power that has arrived in each country.

For this reason, the integration systems and the organizations they represent must have solid foundations and be far removed from the interests or agendas of each government. They must encompass general proposals with an apolitical intention, solely focused on the well-being of each citizen. If it is true that several organizations today fulfill this intention and have advanced integration bases and that they have known how to resist the ups and downs of internal politics (such as Mercosur, the Pacific Alliance, the OAS, etc.), today we are facing moments where several other they have lost credibility within the citizens themselves.

In addition, the overpopulation and supply of organizations, which it finally achieves, is also an oversized expense to the national budget of each country. The maintenance of each of these groups translates into a high sum where many times they serve only to maintain allied politicians and distribute bureaucracy. The distribution of embassies and positions in organizations ends up being an unnecessary expense for the little work they do.

A small example of this is the budget of the General Secretariat of the Andean Community for the year 2020. This institution within the organization had about 5 and a half million dollars at its disposal. Now, let's add each of the groups, and the sum is not negligible. Money that can be invested in a better way and with better results.
And the idea is not to eliminate them all because obviously, they are necessary in order to finally have a minimum of Latino integration, the kind that has been dreamed of since the days of independence. But these institutions must be monitored and results and responses must be demanded of them. Their functions are often scarce and this is the reason for their ineffectiveness, but then, we should rethink their need or the possibility of eliminating them and passing their functions to other organizations

This is why revisionism is urgently needed to be able to filter which of these are mechanisms or pass them on to working groups of each of the foreign ministries. International relations and international cooperation cannot continue to serve as a refuge for ineffectiveness or the ineptitude of mediocre officials. They must demonstrate results, not only for the governments in power but for the citizens of all member countries and those who pay their salaries.