Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Colombia Refuses to Attend Union of South American Nations Summit



The 12-member bloc of South American nations that constitutes the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) is scheduled to hold its third meeting in Quito, Ecuador today to discuss a wide range of issues ranging from the coup in Honduras, to Brazilian-Paraguayan electricity trading.  Notably absent from the meetings are Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who decided not to attend the summit or to send Foreign Relations Minister Jaime Bermudez.

A major topic of discussion at this year’s meetings is likely to be the issue of Colombia’s recently-announced plan to offer the United States the use of seven Colombian military bases. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who has been highly critical of an increased U.S. presence in Colombia, has “frozen” his countries diplomatic ties to Bogotá over the issue. Colombia also has had no formal diplomatic ties to Ecuador in the more than a year since it conducted a cross-border raid into Ecuadorian territory while combating guerrilla forces.

The meeting, which will conclude late this afternoon, coincides with the swearing in of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa following his April re-election under a new constitution. At the meeting’s close, Ecuador will receive from Chile the rotating presidency of the regional group.

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