Latin American nations worried over proposed US-Mexican border wall

Rio De Janeiro/La Paz/Quito, Jan 27 (IANS) Latin American countries and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) expressed concern over US President Donald Trump’s decision to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

“Most countries in Latin America maintain close friendly ties with the people of the US. Because of that, the Brazilian government is concerned about the idea of building a wall to separate sister nations on our continent, without a consensus between them,” the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The ministry also encouraged such matters to be resolved through dialogue instead of isolationist measures, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Brazil has always worked with a firm belief that matters between friendly people’s, as is the case with the US and Mexico, should be resolved through a dialogue and the construction of spaces of understanding,” the government said.

Bolivian President Evo Morales called on embattled Mexico to look southward and help strengthen Latin American integration.

“I call on our Mexican brothers to look more towards the south, to jointly build unity based on our (shared) Latin American and Caribbean heritage,” Morales posted on Twitter.

The message comes just hours after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled an upcoming meeting with his US counterpart amid a bilateral dispute over the latter’s decision to erect a wall along the US-Mexican border.

The UNASUR, which comprises Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, issued a scathing criticism of the US decision.

In a statement from the bloc’s headquarters in Quito, UNASUR Secretary General Ernesto Samper rejected the proposal as “humiliating” for Mexicans and Trump’s stance as defiant.

Trump has also floated the idea of slapping a 20-per cent tax on Mexican imports to finance the wall.

Samper added that the UNASUR was “concerned by the tension in hemispheric relations, resulting from these types of measures, which affect the security and quality of life of our fellow citizens residing in the US”.

Deteriorating relations may also affect other developments in the region, including a peace process in Colombia and rapprochement with Cuba, he said.

–IANS

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