On August 10 of 2009, Ecuador became president pro tempore of the Union of the South American Nations (UNASUR) and of the Technical Secretary of the South American Council of Defense (CDS).
This Tuesday, specialists from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador diverged about the future of the mechanism, principally considering its capacity of building a regional confidence and regarding the transparency in the military expenses.
One of the principal unknowns concerns the real claims of Brazil in the CDS.
Alejo Vargas, of the National University of Colombia, remembered that the proposal of creation of the CDS appeared exactly on the 1st day of March of 2008, day in which the Colombian Army attacked a camp of the Farc in Ecuadorian territory.
Vargas remembered still that the CDS doesn´t integrate the Constitutive Treaty of the UNASUR in its original version.
The discussion, coordinated by the teacher Maria Celina D´Araújo, of the PUC/RJ (Portuguese to: Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro), also disposed of the participation of Marcela Donadio, of the RESDAL (Security and Defense Network of Latin America), and of José Luiz Navárez, of the Ministry of the Defense of Ecuador.
They participate in Brasilia, of the ENABED IV, meeting of the associations of studies of Defense, promoted by the Secretary of Strategic Affairs, of the Presidency of the Republic.
The organization of the event remembers that new institutionalities in the Defense area appeared in the 90´s, like the Conference of American Ministers of the Defense, that will have its new edition this year.
Besides, there was a process of redefinition of the Inter-American Board of Defense (JID), linked to the Organization of the American States (OAS).
In the South America, the South American Council of Defense (CDS) appears as the principal innovation and carries with itself the challenges of promoting the construction of the regional confidence, subordination of the military power to the civil and democratic power, cooperation in the area of Defense and commitment with the peace, the democracy and the development.
José Luiz Navárez, explained that the CDS has as specific objectives, to strengthen the adoption of measures of confidence, exchange and cooperation in the context of the industry of Defense and to interchange experiences about the processes of modernization of the ministries of the Defense and of the Armed Forces.
He acknowledged that the consensus construction is complicated, but he detached the advancements, like the discussion around a regional doctrine for the Defense, something that always came from the outside.
For Marcela Donadio, of the RESDAL, the great unknown for the South America resides in the Brazilian thought about the Council.
In her evaluation, there is more skepticism than optimism.
Donadio explained that the JID, for example, lacks credibility because of the lack of will of the member-countries in handing over information and data about military expenses.
“In the bilateral plan there are more advancements. Many countries worked alongside certain institutional mechanisms and advanced through cooperation agreements”, she explained.
An example: Argentina and Chile, model that the CDS uses.
Marcela Donadio showed that, a year ago, what was said about the CDS was that it was a mechanism created to expand the industry of Defense of Brazil.
She complained still of the Brazilian lack of interest for the Center of Strategic Studies that will work in Buenos Aires.
In the opinion of Alejo Vargas, a disservice for the UNASUR was the election of the ex-president Nestor Kirchner as Secretary-General of the organ.
“The Secretary of the UNASUR works in Quito, he lives in Buenos Aires with political projects and in August the UNASUR will be commanded from Guyana”, he affirmed.
Vargas also emphasized that for Colombia is unacceptable that the UNASUR and the Rio Group compete with the OAS.
According to him, “if the CDS depart from an ideological-political acting, it has conditions of contributing with the distension in the region. For that, we have to put on the table all the agreements of military cooperation, of Colombia with the United States, of the United States with Brazil, of Brazil with France, and of Russia and China with Venezuela”.