Colombia’s foreign ministry on Monday formally notified UNASUR that the country is leaving the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
In a televised address, President Ivan Duque and Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said that Colombia will leave the regional body for failing to take position against “the Venezuelan dictatorship.”
UNASUR was initially created a decade ago to promote regional integration and counter US influence in the region, but has become virtually paralyzed over division about the crisis in Colombia’s neighbor to the east.
Former President Juan Manuel Santos‘ announced in May that Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Peru were suspending their membership of the organization.
Duque announced his country’s departure from the body after an apparent failure to find consensus, not just on Venezuela, but also on which country should provide the organization’s next president.
UNASUR was created in 2008 to promote regional cooperation and counter US Interference in the region.
The late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, along with fellow left-leaning leaders, rejected US-supported proposals for a Free Trade Area of the Americas and created UNASUR to promote regional economic cooperation similar to the European Union.
But since its foundation, the governments of a number of member states have shifted to the right while the socialist-run Venezuela has become increasingly isolated from its neighbors.
Resolutions that sought to condemn human rights violations in the oil-rich country were sunk by Venezuela’s allies in the region and countries that depend on free oil distributed by Caracas.
The countries that still firmly remain in the bloc along with Venezuela are Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Guyana and Suriname.
The organization has been without a secretary general since January last year when former Colombian President Ernesto Samper ended his term.
The lack of consensus and leadership has removed “the conditions that allow taking decisions” as one body, former Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said in April.