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Colombia Rejoins South American Union

After a two-year absence, Colombia is rejoining the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and signaling its commitment to improved relations with neighboring Venezuela.

President Gustavo Petro made the announcement on Tuesday via his verified Twitter account. To guarantee pluralism and permanence, he asked for a name change: the Association of South American Nations.

The move signifies a dramatic shift from Colombia’s past policy. In 2018, during the government of Iván Duque, Colombia withdrew from Unasur. According to Carlos Holmes Trujillo, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, the reason for the withdrawal was to “believe in the need to relaunch the OAS to strengthen it, in development of the principle of defense and strengthening of the inter-American system.”

The Union of South American Nations was established in 2008 upon the signing of its Constitutive Treaty. Its goal is to “build a South American identity and citizenship and develop an integrated regional space.”

The same day as President Petro’s announcement, Colombia signed an agreement with its neighbor Venezuela to create a ‘Neighborhood Commission’ to promote cooperation and development in the border areas.

While relations between the two countries had been tense for the past few years, they began improving since Petro took office in 2022. The Association of South American Nations is symbolic of the countries’ commitment to healthy diplomatic relations as well as economic and regional development. As the organization continues to grow, its positive impact will be widely felt across the continent.