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Regional Integration after the Failure of the Free Trade Area of the Americas
Freely translated by Anoosha Boralessa (October 2015). Not reviewed by bilaterals.org or any other organization or person.
by Raúl Zibechi
16 March 2005
All Latin American countries talk about integration but concrete steps in the direction of achieving it are far more difficult than simple declarations. After the failure of the FTAAs (Free Trade Area for the Americas; in Spanish: ALCA), the region finds itself faced with the challenge of staying divided and at the mercy of the interests of big powers) or embarking on a path to a united continent. Even where the case for integration trumps, it is still difficult to define what type of integration model should be constructed.
After two centuries of independence, Latin American republics have not succeeded in making solid advances towards transcending “balkanisation”, one of the worst legacies of colonialism. Progressives and social activists tend to attribute the difficulties that Latin America faces to the work of division that different empires have faced throughout History. However, a more careful review of events over the last two centuries - following the debacle for forging the unity of Simon Bolivar in the North of South America and José Artigas in Río de la Plata – would permit the conclusion that difficulties arise also from conflicting interests of many sectors that clash on the regional chessboard.
2005 opened with the failure of FTAAs on the terms proposed by the United States. The FTAAs is the US’s main strategic plan for the region. The idea of creating a single market with 34 American countries assumed, on the facts, to consolidate the hegemony of US multinationals and to deepen structural adjustment policies – sic neoliberalism – to the extent that they would be almost irreversible. This would have crystallized US hegemony in the international system. . During the recent Global Social Forum, held at Porto Alegre, many observed that January 1 should be a day on which social movements celebrate. This is because on this day, a key defeat of US diplomacy’s attempt to impose the FTAAs materialized. Despite this victory, and the efforts of several countries to convert Mercosur post-enlargement  into an alternative, the path towards regional integration continues to be paved with good intentions and only reaps elegant speeches that are never followed up on.
The Failure of the FTAAs and Washington’s Limits
In recent years, implementing policies designed by the White House has been a challenging process. The most important challenge was made by social movements in the region, articulated in the Continental Social Alliance which has orchestrated sustained mobilisations against the FTAAs. From 2002, this succeeded, in taking the debate out of institutional and specialized settings and leading it into the streets and to ordinary citizens. At the governmental level, the most tenacious opposition was by the Brazilian government, presided by Luiz Ignacio « Lula » da Silva who has sketched out his own foreign policy, which is clearly different from the US proposals. This policy tends to establish a benchmark both for states within the region and for a good part of the states of the Global South. The diplomacy of Itamaraty [Minister for Foreign Affairs] has a long trajectory of independence which, under the management of the current minister, Celso Amorim, has permitted striking advances to weave a new kind of South-South relations. Brazil has played a key role in forming the Group of 20 (G-20), an alliance opposed to Northern agricultural subsidies and which has managed to derail the Summit [of the World Trade Organisation] in Cancun in September 2003 .
Brazilian diplomacy is on a path to establishing solid agreements with emerging states such as China, India and South Africa. This is an effort to displace its trade dependence on the European Union and the United States. In this regard, Brazil has played a double role: stalling the creation of the FTAAs and struggling to enlarge Mercosur so that almost every country in the region falls under its umbrella. The first objective has been effectively achieved, even if the second – as we shall see – clashes with problems linked to imbalances and conflicting interests principally between Brazil and Argentina. In other words, Brazil has proved to be more effective at slowing down the FTAAs than constructing an alternative method for integration.
One thing is sure and that is, for the first time in a number of years, Washington’s policy towards the region clashes with defined boundaries. Essentially, these originate from a new continental climate provoked by an increasing loss of credibility in the liberal model. The recent history of the FTAAs bears witness to this. The FTAAs project has seriously stumbled during the World Trade Organization (WTO) Summit in Cancun when it became clear that there were material differences. Robert Zoellick, the US Foreign Trade Representative, tried to soften the initial proposition in the eighth Inter-Ministerial Summit of the Americas that took place at Miami on 20 November 2003. This was a key event. At this level, Washington had opted for flexibility - by accepting different levels of engagement between different partners, which is known as a « light FTAAs »- but the meeting resulted in a reversal of its policy. According to Lula, Brazil succeeded [to do]: «what we were dreaming about: to make a FTAAs on terms that are viable and to leave the rest to be fought out within the World Trade Organization» .
Finally, the FTAAs’ failure is due to the tenacious resistance of movements within the region as well as the inflexible policy of providing agricultural subsidies and anti-dumping practices, issues the United States did not want to debate. Latin American countries for their part proved reluctant to open the sector of public procurement to powerful North American businesses. Shortly after the Miami meeting, 2004 experienced constant stagnation, so much so that several meetings that had been scheduled, had to be suspended. Thereafter, the parties that were present began to shift their pieces on a regional chessboard: Mercosur, led by Brazil, sought to enlarge, trying to incorporate all the countries on the continent, and to integrate the Andean Community of Nations (CAN)  to this dynamic. [At the same time] it tried to seal agreements with other countries such as India, South Africa and even the European Union. The United States for its part began a hurried race to establish bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), similar to the one it had signed with Chile, with CAN countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Washington has not changed its strategy but is trying to take it forward through different routes. In this rushed struggle to win allies and to isolate the adversary, the destiny of regional integration is made light of.
Mercosur at an impasse
However, Mercosur is at an impasse. Nothing seems to indicate that this situation is changing in the short term. Even if, as a Public Policy Laboratory Report highlighted, Mercosur «successfully dodges the North American attempt to isolate it from the other countries that form part of the continent, as a reprisal for its position on the FTAAs», one thing is sure: a regional alliance is «a long way off from consolidating a common position on how to take forward the integration process» . The Economic Minister of the Leftist government of Uruguay, Danilo Astori, has recognized the weaknesses of the regional alliance whose future he has qualified as «uncertain». «I cannot support the idea of a regional parliament when we do not even have a free market that is working in the region», he pointed out. The minister thinks it’s impossible to embark on a process such as the South American Community of Nations (which implies ten countries integrating), when, after more than a decade, Mercosur, still has extremely weak institutions, is unable to facilitate the movement of goods between its member countries and Brazil and Argentina are constantly arguing .
During the 26th Mercosur Heads of State Summit, which took place on 8 July 2004 at Puerto Iguazú (Argentina), the alliance’s framework was defined. The four founding members have been joined by six countries: three already hold the status of «associate states» (Chile, Bolivia and Peru), as well as Venezuela and Colombia, as a consequence of the free trade treaty signed with CAN. The battle is head on given that some countries are in the process of negotiating or have already signed a free trade agreement with the United States. In some cases, difficulties emerge from old grievances (such as the one between Chile and Bolivia on access to the sea). In other cases, problems originate from neoliberal policies (such as the dispute between Chile and Argentina over gas, due to the absence of investments by privitized Argentine businesses that endanger gas exports). But, above all, some conflicts originate from the subordination of nearly all governments to large businesses –national or multinational-, which demand imposing their narrow interests which appear.
To sum up, Mercosur has achieved enlargement, but it has not succeeded in strengthening ties between its member states. Even the Mercosur Secretariat in a report issued last July declares that «today the institutional model in force neither reflects a collective plan nor a common vision on regional integration» . The last Mercosur summit in Ouro Preto (Brazil) in December 2004, was not able to change the situation and was polarized by the debate on protectionist measures taken unilaterally by Argentina, in contravention of the internal norms of the bloc. Through these measures, Argentina seeks to protect the beginning of its industrial recovery. The Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan, responded to the Argentine Economic Minister – who was lamenting that imports from Brazil were preventing the consolidation of Argentina’s industry – by pointing out to him that «Brazil has never stopped investing [in Argentina] during all these recent years. And even in times of crisis, the corporate sector has continued to invest. Argentina needs to invest, to remodel and to reform its production. It is a challenge that concerns Argentinians far more than it does us.»  As a matter of fact, Mercosur does not even manage to make progress on non-economic issues such as establishing its future parliament, the implementation of which is scheduled for 2006 even though there is no agreement on the representation that each country will have.
A good example of the difficulties experienced was the third South American Summit. It took place from 7 to 9 December 2004 at Cuzco (Peru). Its objective was to establish a South American Community of Nations (SCN). The SCN was comprised of the following countries: the four Mercosur countries, five CAN countries and Chile. Guyana and Suriname will be invited to join the plan. It is the most ambitious integration project that has ever been implemented and is passionately supported by the presidents of Brazil and Venezuela, Lula and Hugo Chávez respectively. Potentially, the SCN is the biggest bloc in the world: 17 million km², almost 400 millions inhabitants and a gross product of 800 billion dollars; it is the world’s biggest producer of food stuffs, the world’s biggest reserve of biodiversity, has a third of the earth’s soft water, and oil and gas resources for more than a century .
But the meeting was a failure, albeit relatively speaking. No meaningful agreement was reached and the presidents of three Mercosur countries missed the meeting. Of these, the most significant absence was that of the Argentine [President], Nestor Kirchner, who put forward health reasons. What is behind Argentina’s little game that left Lula and the Brazilian diplomacy in a pickle? Principally, there are two issues: one is a substantive issue linked to the glaring imbalances between the two countries. Brazil’s industry is in full expansion while Argentina is just starting to emerge, with much difficulty, from the industrial destruction brought about by the savage neoliberal model that Carlos Menem put in place in the nineties [1989-1999]. Furthermore, Brazil and Argentina compete in nearly all fields: they export the same products to the same countries: principally commodities [agricultural products] to China and the Northern countries. Both are competing to attract investors. Second, Argentina resents Brazil’s total lack of support in its fierce battle with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to emerge from defaulting on payments [defaulting on payments on its debt owed to private creditors]. It is a fact that Kirchner requested Lula to support him in his confrontation with international financial organizations and that this support never came.
Kirchner together with the president of Uruguay (Jorge Battle) and the president of Paraguay (Nicanor Duarte) were absent. So too were the following: the presidents of Ecuador (Lucio Gutierrez) and Mexico (Vicente Fox). The problem, is that regional integration, currently led by Brazil, does not appear to be able to move forward without the cooperation and support of its most important partner, Argentina, a country whose economic and political clout, continues to be decisive.
Twelve countries signed the Cuzco declaration, which is the founding act of the SCN, defined as «a South American space integrated on the political, social, economic, environmental and infrastructural domains, which strengthens the very identity of South America.». The mechanisms to reach these objectives include strengthening the Mercosur-CAN relationship, integration on energy and communications, and political and diplomatic coordination. However the SCN will not be equipped with institutions until a meeting is held later on. That meeting should take place this year in Brazil.
The SCN declarations clearly distinguish it from former experiences like Mercosur and the CAN. Priority is not assigned to free trade but to «democracy, solidarity, human rights, freedom, social justice, respect for territorial integrity, diversity, non-discrimination and the declaration of its autonomy, sovereign equality of States and peaceful settlement of disputes.» . If the declarations contained in the founding act of the SCN were grounded in fact, we would be in the presence of a genuine «plan for integrating peoples» . But in light of recent history, this may be only a declaration of good intentions, but «politically correct».
On occasion, the regional puzzle appears too complicated. Different regional actors contribute very little to making it clearer. Currently, there are three initiatives for integration that, relatively speaking, complement each other: Mercosur, CAN and the SCN. To these must be added ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) launched in 2001 by Chávez.
ALBA was never anything other than a statement of intentions which was received better by the social movements than by South American governments. However, at the end of December, in Havana, President Chávez and his Cuban homologue signed the proposal for Alba, even though no other government approved the initiative. According to the Attac economist, Manuel Hidalgo, it would be possible to harmonize «two trends which confront the imperial policy in the region: on the one hand, the Bolivarian trend, launched by Venezuela and supported by a number of social and political movements in the region, and on the other hand the «neo developmental» trend represented by the governments of Brazil and Argentina.» . Even if this harmonization, which could have been given a specific form at the Cuzco meeting which set up the SCN, has still not been done, some steps have been taken over recent months that could go in that direction.
Parallel paths: bilateral initiatives
Beset by enormous difficulties that regional integration presents, the countries that are most interested in it are in the process of taking tangible steps to promote bilateral agreements. Currently, the chief protagonists are Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. The first has the hamper of oil, a wealth that it skilfully uses both at the national and international level. Venezuela offers cheap oil and on good payment terms, a temptation that poor countries find difficult to resist. Argentina and Brazil are both playing their own game, seeking to resolve difficulties or internal needs: Argentina seeks a solution to its energy deficits caused by the lack of investment. Brazil seeks to enlarge the markets for its industrials and for its Viking agrobusinesses. Chavez’s fifth visit to Argentina, at the beginning of this year, opens on strategic agreements between Caracas and Buenos Aires. These agreements imply, inter alia, that Venezuela is beginning to replace some US providers with Argentine providers . The agreements signed include the energy, trade, communication and agricultural sectors. The Argentine Enarsa and the Venezuelan PDVSA (national public oil companies) reached an agreement to develop projects for exploration, extraction, refinery, sale and transport with a view to joining the Brazilian Petrobras to form a giant regional oil company that would take the name of Petrosur. Argentina will build four tankers for Venezuela, at a total cost of 240 millions dollars. Venezuela in turn will provide the liquid hydrocarbons to produce thermal energy, the production of which is insufficient during the rough winter in the Rio Platena region. 
From a different perspective, Venezuela is studying the buyback of shares of the Anglo Dutch Shell in Argentina, together with Enarsa and Petrobras. This would be an enormous step for regional integration of energy resources. Shell is in the process of withdrawing its investments in Latin America and PDVSA is in an expansionary phase which would permit it to buy the refinery, fuel stations and marketing channels in Argentina. Argentine exporters can make profits, in the mid- and long-term, in the automobile sector, paper and cardboard, plastics and manufactured goods, but cereal exports can also significantly increase. Venezuela wishes to import thoroughbred livestock to improve its weak production of dairy and meats. The trade between the two countries continues to be barely significant (in 2004 Argentina exported 430 million dollars to Venezuela, and imported only 52 million dollars). However the trend highlights that we are heading towards a steady increase.
Some days later, on 14 February, Venezuela and Brazil signed a «strategic agreement accord» at Caracas. The signature of 20 bilateral agreements on hydrocarbons, infrastructure and military cooperation, which include the sale of fighter planes from the Brazilian company, Embraer, a significant step forward in the bilateral relations between the two countries. Bilateral trade went from 880 million dollars in 2003 to 1.6 billion in 2004. This year it is forecast at three billion. But the main domain for cooperation is hydrocarbons, where the Venezuelan company PDVSA and the Brazilian company Petrobras are going to collaborate to exploit oil and gas in the poles of gas development in the Gulf of Venezuela and the fringe of the Orinoco [river], in collaboration with large Brazilian private companies. Furthermore, a refinery will be built in Brazil to treat the crude from both countries. Joint plans for construction of boats and oil platforms are forecast. .
Lula has made it clear that he is ready to sign « strategic agreements » with other countries in the region. This demonstrates a clear dynamism by Brazil to attract other countries in its sphere. However, this type of agreement seems to benefit the Brazilian businesses that have a highly favourable trade balance with Venezuela and that need to enlarge their markets to follow through with expansion. Some analysts consider that the «strategic agreement » between Brazil and Venezuela implies « a surprise and surprising » turn by Lula, which could be linked to Washington’s recent failure to finalize the FTA with Colombia, Peru and Ecuador during the fifth round of negotiations that took place at Cartagena de Indias  (Colombia).
But alongside cooperation, appear rivalries for regional hegemony. As the recent negotiations with China show, each country chooses to develop the policy that benefits it the most even if it inevitably clashes with its neighbours. The Chinese President Hu Jintao’s tour has laid bare the differences between Brazil and Argentina from the time Lula’s government recognized China as « a market economy» (a pre-requisite for full membership of the WTO). The Kirchner government found itself without any other option than to follow in Brazil’s footsteps . Several industrials and social movements in the two countries have criticized the agreements signed with China: the first through fear that Chinese competition might ruin local industry while the second (in particular the Mouvement des paysans sans terre), fears an economic policy oriented to exporting commodities, which on final analysis, would strengthen the neoliberal model.
The thing is that within the region there appear to be rivalries crossed by national interests, indeed even of individual leaders. This leads, for example, to alliances between Kirchner and Chávez, which Brazil does not join, so that agreements, such as those recently signed between Lula and Chávez, can be implemented. One can attribute them to the national interest but what exactly does “national interest” mean? With the help of some examples, we shall see that behind the conflict between countries and also occasionally, behind some postures favouring integration, the interests of big business gravitates.
Free trade and inequalities
One problem that regional integration faces, stems from the subordination of nearly all governments to big companies – national or multinational – which can take governments as hostages. The latter are in turn hardly inclined to liberate themselves from these influences. The question would be: can one construct regional integration on the basis of free trade?
Let us examine a recent example, which illustrates these problems.
A few days before the Mercosur Summit at Puerto Iguazú, a serious conflict between Brazil and Argentina shocked a meeting that was hugely important to define the future of the regional alliance. The Argentine government decided to limit the imports of Brazilian household appliances that were invading its markets and side-lining national manufacturers. The Argentine multinational Techint exerted pressure in this sense, by claiming that subsidies were received by Brazilian industry. Of course, the Brazilian state grants some loans at preferential rates to exporters, but, furthermore, some assembled products with some pieces coming from the free zone of Manaus are sold with the label « made in Mercosur ». This gives the Brazilian manufacturers a huge advantage. In addition to that, there are further imbalances linked to:
weak investments made by Argentine industrials during the recent period of recession and crisis;
differences in the size of the domestic markets (180 million inhabitants in Brazil compared with 38 million in Argentina);
the fact that Brazil had a very solid banking system; and
the weak rate of deposits in currencies vis – a vis the massive dollarization that Argentina underwent in the 1990s.
Faced with this combination of imbalances, at the end of 2003, Techint – which had enthusiastically defended the government of Carlos Menem – made the case before the Argentine Industrial Union, of the need to redefine Mercosur and to transform it from a customs union into a free trade zone to recover the ground lost over a decade . The permanent disputes between Brazil and Argentina, in which Uruguay invariably played the role of arbitrator, with similar arguments, marks out the path of integration. In the case of household appliances, Lula and Kirchner have decided to take their dispute down a notch and to open a space for negotiation. But this conciliatory attitude has cost the Brazilian government a scathing editorial in the influential O Estado de São Paulo, which accused it of « being overly generous faced with Argentine attacks made on free trade» . It appears evident that the foreign policy of Brasilia and Buenos Aires was guided by the interests of big business.
It will not be easy to come out of this labyrinth. That’s why it is good to clarify what’s at stake. There is no reason why integration should be favourable to the peoples of the continent. An integration plan with the objective of opening up economies even more, «[integration] thought as a free trade zone, conceived principally as the construction of an economic space for free movement of goods and capital», as the Venezuelan sociologist Edgardo Lander points out, is meant to emphasize current inequalities and to guarantee the success of the strongest on the basis of exploitation and exclusion of the weakest .
It is an inherent quality of free trade that it generates differences and social and spatial inequalities, within every country, every region and everywhere in the world from the time it is guided by the logic of profit and led by big business. Not only does it provoke polarization within social groups, by increasing the gap between the rich and the poor, but it also generates poles of development and pockets of marginalization and poverty, brings prosperity to some areas and countries and keeps others in exclusion or triggers their de-industrialization. During the nineties, Brazil’s growth can be attributed to some extent, to the decline of Argentine industry.
Finally a new continental order, which may prove to be problematic, seems to be plotted out, to the extent that the promoters and the beneficiaries of « development » change again, but the substantive model stays the same. The current conditions seem to be set for a partial but certain retreat of big European and US multinationals. This place can be occupied by more or less egalitarian and equitable integration in the people’s favour, which Lander calls, « defensive integration the objective of which could be conquering spaces of autonomy and sovereignty to define the public policies and its own economic options » or else, to the contrary, the regional relations can be redefined in favour of a new master. The candidate in this last case, is the Brazilian industry.
Brazil is the only country that has an important structure of industrial production while the others have been rolled over by de-industrialisation. It has a powerful industry with highly advanced technology and its flag-bearer is the aeronautical company Embraer, capable of winning tenders in developed countries. Even if there is a significant presence of multinational companies and big Brazilian companies are associated with international capital, the majority of industrial companies belong to Brazilians. Brazil is « the only country where finance capital held by Brazilians occupies a dominant position internally. » . It is the only truly bourgeois, Latin American state: « the only one that has, apparently, the attributes of a national bourgeoisie, because its interests are established and diversified in the country’s economy ». Why does Quijano say «apparently»? because Brazil is the champion of the world of inequalities. It is the world’s most socially polarized country, where 10% of the richest control a share of the national wealth that is 70 times bigger than 10% of the poorest. By this same token, it is the least democratic country in the region, «the only Latin American country where the ancien regime has succeeded not only in maintaining its power, but in modernizing, with respect to technology and consumer habits » . To sum up, Brazilian entrepreneurs have reached the position they are in thanks to the non-democratic control of a non-democratic state and to brutally exploiting Brazil’s poor.
It is this core of entrepreneurs that is behind Brazil’s rejection of the FTAAs, since it needs to be protected against a plan that would ruin it. But it is also this lot that seems to order «de facto» integration. At Caracas, while the strategic agreement between Brazil and Venezuela was being signed, a “Bi-national Entrepreneurial Business Forum” took place. Lula, speaking to entrepreneurs (actually to Brazilian businessmen, given that Venezuelan businessmen were fighting against Chávez), he declared: « club together, do business, generate income and jobs. All of us will too benefit from your individual success » .
CAN : Andean Community of Nations which comprise Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela: http://www.comunidadandina.org/
CSN : South American Community of Nations. All South American States are members apart from Surinam and Guyana.
Mercosur : Common Market of the South. It consists of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay :http://www.mercosur.org.uy/
Agencia Latinoamericana de Información y Análisis : http://www.alia2.net/
Agencia Periodistica del Mercosur (APM) : http://www.prensamercosur.com.ar/
Bello, Walden, “El significado de Cancún”, in revue OSAL, n°11, Buenos Aires, May – August 2003.
Borón, Atilio, “El ALCA y la culmunación de un proyecto imperial”, in revue OSAL, n°11, Buenos Aires, May – August 2003.
Déclaration de Cuzco de la CSN : http://www.comunidadandina.org/
Instituto de Estudios y Formación de la CTA, “Diferencias entre Brasil y Argentina”, Buenos Aires, April 2003, http://www.cta.org.ar/
Laboratório de Políticas Públicas : www.Politicainternacional.net
Lander, Edgardo, ¿Modelos alternativos de integración ? Proyectos neoliberales y resistencia popular, in revue OSAL, n°15, Buenos Aires, September – December 2004
Observatório Social de America Latina (OSAL) : http://osal.clacso.org/
Aníbal Quijano, « El laberinto de América Latina ¿Hay otras salidas ? In Revista Venezolana de Economia y Ciencias Sociales, Vol. 10 n°1, Caracas, January – April 2004, http://www.revele.com.ve/
 Atílio Borón, « El ALCA y la culminación de un proyecto imperial », in revue OSAL, n°11, Buenos Aires, May-August 2003. http://osal.clacso.org/
 Mercosur is a regional area for economic cooperation of the Southern Cone (Market of the Southern Cone). Its members are Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
 Walden Bello, “El significado de Cancún”, in revue OSAL, n°11. Buenos Aires, May – August 2003.http://osal.clacso.org/
 Rafael Gentili, « Análisis de coyuntura sobre ALCA y Mercosur », in www.outrobrasil.net
 The Andean Community of Nations consists of Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
 Rafael Gentili, « Informe sobre el Mercosur », in Politicainternacional.net, November 2004.
 La República, Montevideo, 4 January 2005.
 « Informe sobre el Mercosur », December 2004, accessible on www.Politicainternacional.net
 Folha de São Paulo, 15 December 2004.
 « Informe sobre el Mercosur », December 2004, accessible on www.Polinticainternacional.net
 Déclaration de Cuzco, sur www.comunidadandina.org
 Edgardo Lander, “¿Modelos alternativos de integración ? Proyectos neoliberales y resistencias populares”, in revue OSAL, n°15, Buenos Aires, Sept -Dec 2004. http://osal.clacso.org/
 Gustavo González, « América del ALCA al ALBA », accessible on www.ipsenespanol.net
 APM (Agencia Periodística del Mercosur), « Acuerdos Argentina-Venezuela : un ejemplo a seguir », accessible on www.alainet.org
 Rioplatense : de la région du Rio de la Plata. (ndlr)
 Agencia Latinoamericana de Información y Análisis-Dos, “ Hagamos que esta sea la gran hora de Venezuela y Brasil ”, accessible on www.alia2.net
 Aram Aharonian, “Acuerdo estratégico Brasil-Venezuela” accessible on www.brecha.com.uy
 «Informe sobre el Mercosur », November 2004.
 Raúl Zibechi, “El Mercosur y la integración regional. Una interminable carrera de obstáculos”, Masiosare, 18 July 2004, accessible on www.jornada.unam.mx
 O Estado de São Paulo, 9 July 2004.
 Edgardo Lander, « Modèles alternatifs d’intégration ? Projets néolibéraux et résistances populaires ».
 Aníbal Quijano, “El laberinto de América Latina ¿Hay otras salidas ? ” in Revista Venezolana de Economia y Ciencias Sociales, Vol. 10 n°1, Caracas, Jan-April 2004.