BUENOS AIRES – “Politicians are the biggest obstacle to (Latin American) integration,” former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica said in Buenos Aires.
“I am not optimistic, today, regarding integration in Latin America,” Mujica said at a seminar on Re-imagining Regional Integration in the Era of Disruptive Technologies, organized by the Institute for Latin America and Caribbean Integration on its 50th anniversary.
“Politics is not equal to the challenges ahead,” he told an audience of 500 people, pointing to “the magnitude of uncontrolled financial capital around the world.”
Mujica, whose five-year term ended in March, criticized the prospective Trans-Pacific Partnership, comprising the United States and 11 other countries, as intended “to reign in the Chinese monster” and he said that the process of regional and international integration should not be driven by the needs of business.
Despite the difficulties, the former leftist guerrilla vowed to “keep on fighting for that integration until the last moment,” while insisting that those engaged in that struggle must “be open, flexible, non-dogmatic.”
Mujica also joined a campaign rally for Daniel Scioli, the ruling party candidate in Argentina’s Oct. 25 presidential election.
Other regional leaders, including Brazilian former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, have visited Argentina in recent weeks to offer support for Scioli, currently governor of Buenos Aires province.