A major Summit of all South American leaders took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on December 8th and 9th. The leaders agreed to create a high-level commission to study the idea of forming a continent-wide community similar to the European Union. This was a major story that somehow skipped the attention of most prominent Western news organizations. The deliberations in Cochabamba build on existing regional plans for integrated energy and communication systems and follow a recent agreement signed in Santiago, Chile, on November 25th that permits visa-free travel between the twelve South American nations.
Such moves towards integration in South America must be of concern to the United States, which has often resorted to dirty tactics to assert control in the region. I am thankful George W. Bush, President of the United States, seems to have taken his eye off this ball, but that Sunil Gulati, President of the United States Soccer Federation, has not. Gulati recently accepted the invitation of CONMEBOL, the South American Football Federation, to participate in the 2007 Copa America.
The Copa America tournament, to be hosted by Venezuela between June 26th and July 17th, 2007, will benefit greatly as a spectacle from Bolivarian agreements that make attendance at the tournament easier for South Americans and from the involvement of North Americans.