Colombia and five other countries have suspended their membership of Unasur, the South American union of nations that has been divided over the election of a new president.
The bloc was founded in 2008 to promote regional integration and diminish US influence in South America. The organization, however, has become virtually paralyzed.
In a letter to Bolivia’s Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni, whose country temporarily presides the union, the six countries suspended all cooperation until seeing “concrete results that guarantee the proper functioning of the body.”
Countries that left Unasur
Countries that stayed in Unasur
An anonymous Peruvian official told news agency Reuters that deep divisions between countries have made Unasur rudderless.
“Unasur works by consensus but the differences between its members’ political and economic views are so great it can no longer operate,” the diplomat told Reuters.
Since its foundation, the governments of a number of member states have shifted to the right while the socialist-run Venezuela has become increasingly authoritarian.
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 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.
While Colombia and its five allies have suspended their membership “any decision that is intended to be taken will not be enforceable against the countries that subscribe to this statement,” the dissenting countries said.
Bolivia’s foreign minister told state media that he will call an emergency meeting to solve the crisis.