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Modelos Alternativos para la integración Sudamericana

With the advent of the new millennium, initiatives aiming at establishing an integrated economic area in South America, such as the proposal of Venezuela to join MERCOSUR, the creation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), have gained increasing political and economic importance. As opposed to the US and the neoliberal model of regional integration exemplified by NAFTA, these South American initiatives aim to create an integrated region which would increase the bargaining power of each country in negotiations with industrialized nations, and enhance social and economic cohesion in the region. However, the economic and political structures that are shaping South American integration are not necessarily coherent with their original geopolitical and social goals. The emphasis on free trade, the predominance of Brazil and its growing intra-regional trade surplus, as well as wide regional disparities, weaken the construction of an integrated economic area.