Bolivia: Why people reject the new headquarters of UNASUR?

The building, which cost more than 60 million dollars, is located in a city with a poverty rate of 45%, according to the National Institute of Statistics of the country

Bolivia: Why people reject the new headquarters of UNASUR?

Evo Morales' government seeks to prevent UNASUR's fall as a regional organization. For that, it invested more than 60 million dollars in the construction of a new headquarter in Bolivian territory, a building that has awakened criticism from different local and regional sectors.

Leer en español: La decadencia de Unasur: El rechazo a la nueva sede en Bolivia

Despite the effort, there are those who believe that this mega-investment will not have any effect for the organization, since Colombia, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Chile, six of its 12 members, withdrew from UNASUR. For now, Ecuador, Suriname, Guyana, Uruguay, and Venezuela are still members of UNASUR.

Rejection in Bolivia

The Bolivian political opposition has reacted immediately for the cost of this construction. The deputy and national leader of the New Alliance Bolivia party, Amilcar Barral, criticized the investment in his Twitter account.

According to him, "they spend 400 million (Bolivian) in the construction of infrastructure of UNASUR, an institution that is about to disappear due to the distance of several countries. The president inaugurated it and says it will serve for social movements, expanded, marriages, promotions and others."

"Only one suggestion: this building is huge. It has heliports for four airplanes, why do not we use it as a hospital?", suggested the opposition parliamentarian.

It is even estimated that with this expenditure of more than 60 million dollars it would have been possible to build a third level hospital, a health center in the country that Unicef itself qualifies as one of the poorest in Latin America. "In fact, Bolivia's main social problem is inequality in the distribution of income and wealth," UNICEF describes on its website.

Despite these circumstances, President Evo Morales chose to make the investment for UNASUR without the certainty that the organization will continue its activities now that the countries that were part of it are no longer there. Another element is added to its decision: the headquarters is in the town of San Benito, Cochabamba, a city with a poverty rate of at least 45%, according to the National Institute of Statistics of the country.

Regional cause or ideological movement?

UNASUR has its origins in 2004, in the South American Community of Nations (CSN), which later became the Union of South American Nations. It has 21 specific objectives, among which economic cooperation, development, and education stand out.

However, before the political-economic circumstances that revolved around some of its main founders, such as Rafael Correa, Hugo Chávez, Néstor Kirchner, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva and Evo Morales, it is believed that more than a union organization regional is a political entity at the mercy of the leaders of the left-wing that integrate it.

According to political scientist Deyson Padrón in an interview with LatinAmerican Post, "UNASUR was born with the objective of achieving an equitable and fair integration of the South American nations. However, the real objective of this creation was to block and avoid at all costs the influence of the foreign policy of the United States in the region."

"This was, without a doubt, one of the most successful strategies of recent international politics, emerged from the Forum of Sao Paulo under the ideological influence of Cuba, with Hugo Chávez as an instrument, thanks to the enormous oil checkbook that he managed during the years of greatest Bonanza," he explained.

"The above described can be contrasted without objections when reviewing the achievements and objectives of the organization throughout its 10 years of existence: an agenda of governmental interests, with an absolute political ideological tinge mainly from the then presidents Lula Da Silva, Néstor Kirchner and Hugo Chávez, but not state interests or achieve objectives that benefit citizens."

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In addition to the ideological interests, according to Padrón, there are also economic interests "in many cases of non-transparent business among the representatives of the countries, the justification of the violations of fundamental rights in the nations and in general the support of authoritarian regimes who seek to perpetuate themselves in power through 'democratic tricks'."

Along with Padrón is Bolivian opposition senator Maria Lourdes Landivar, who declared in a video broadcast by the Democratic Unity Bank in the Bolivian Senate that "this was an entity created by Hugo Chávez. Its first secretary-general was Néstor Kirchner who is the symbol of corruption in Argentina. That is UNASUR, an entity created to support and benefit only authoritarian regimes and support dictatorships such as Cuba and Venezuela."

This is the new headquarters of the UNASUR Parliament in Bolivia

LatinAmerican Post | Jhon González

Translated from "La decadencia de Unasur: El rechazo de la nueva sede en Bolivia"

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