While Europe and many countries are locking up refugees, South America is reorganising itself to make borders more a thing of the past.
At the 35th Summit of the Heads of States of Mercosur (The Common Market of the South), the presidents of Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay will approve an agreement to allow free passage of citizens between 10 countries without a passport. These countries will include the members of Mercosur, as well as Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, as associated countries to Mercosur, and Mexico as an observer. Venezuela will become a full member of Mercosur at this summit.
The South American agreement does not include Guyana and Surinam, countries which have a different judicial system to the other countries. However, the agreement will not apply immediately, as it will have to pass through a long process of approval within each of the 10 South American countries.
This is just one small step in an ongoing discussion and process towards a continent-wide community.
Also being discussed at the summit is the energy situation, the food crisis, the price of oil, the creation of a shared database of children and youth in vulnerable situations in order to prevent crimes such as human trafficking, and the recognition of certificates and degrees between the Mercosur countries. Member countries are also lashing out at the European Union’s recent law towards illegal immigrants.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, Ecuardorian President Rafael Correan, and Hugo Chavez have criticised the European Unions criminalisation of unauthorised immigration which allows up to 18 months detention. Chavez has even threatened to return European investments in Venezuela to protest the harsh rules.
Latin American unity and cooperation is a positive development after the continent’s initial division and oppression by European colonisation and then the ongoing exploitation and ‘intervention’ by the US government and multinationals.
“We must march united towards the political independence of our region.” Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, said.