BRASILIA – The presidents of the United States and Brazil said on Saturday that organizations of regional integration such as the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, and Mercosur, have made a “valuable contribution” to democracy, peace, cooperation, security and development.
U.S. President Barack Obama, on a state visit to Brazil, and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, hailed the dialogue between Unasur and the American head of state in a joint statement.
Both leaders also expressed their commitment to the Organization of American States, or OAS, and applauded the “efforts underway to make the organization more transparent and efficient, capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century.”
Since the founding of Unasur, which was promoted by Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2008, there has been only one meeting of the leadership of that organization with the United States government – in April 2009 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, at the 5th Summit of the Americas.
Obama and Rousseff also pointed to the need for “better coordination” between the Summit of the Americas, a forum they described as an “organization of regional coordination at the highest level,” the OAS and the rest of the inter-American organizations, to create “greater cohesion” and “strengthen the synergies among institutions.”
The U.S. president did not mention the great hope that Brazil brought to the meeting – to get U.S. backing for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.
In that sense, Rousseff said that “we seek economic relations that are more fair and balanced...it is fundamental to knock down the barriers that have been raised against our products: ethanol, beef, orange juice, steel.”
The president said she understands that the United States has had to take strong measures to find the way back to economic growth after the world crisis, but stressed that some of them “erode good economic practices and are headed toward protectionism.”
She said that Brazil’s insistence on expanding the U.N. Security Council does not come from any love of bureaucracy, but because of “the certainty that a more multilateral world will produce benefits of peace and harmony among peoples.”
Obama arrived Saturday morning in Brasilia where he was received by Rousseff at the presidential Planalto Palace.
The U.S. president’s visit to Brazil is the first stop on his tour of Latin America, which will also take him to Chile and El Salvador.
With President Barack Obama set to commence a five-day tour in Latin America, the Latin American Herald Tribune will bring you ongoing coverage of his stops in Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador, starting with this introduction by President Obama our ties -- both economic and ancestral -- with Latin America.