Latin American Weekly Report

01/04/2021 - ​Uruguay’s Lacalle Pou ignites Mercosur tensions in virtual summit

It is too early to consign the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) to the large graveyard of integration movements in Latin America, but it is fair to say that the heady optimism that surrounded the bloc when it was formed in 1991 has well and truly faded. Given the mutual antipathy between Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and his Argentine peer Alberto Fernández, who are yet to meet in person, it might have been expected that if there were going to be fireworks at Mercosur’s virtual summit on 26 March then they would provide them. In the event, however, it was a comment by Uruguay’s President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou that set them off. His resulting spat with Fernández goes to heart of Mercosur’s internal differences.

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