MAKING CONNECTIONS

Mexico 2017 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

TBY talks to Ernesto Samper Pizano, Secretary General of UNASUR, on Mexico's integration with Latin America and its status as an observer country in UNASUR.

Ernesto Samper Pizano
BIOGRAPHY
Ernesto Samper Pizano was President of Colombia from 1994-1998. He was also Ambassador to the Assembly of the UN in 1983, Ambassador of Colombia in Spain from 1991-1992, Minister of Economic Development in 1990 and 1991, and coordinator of the meetings of Ex-Presidents of Latin America in the Global Agenda from 2000-2005. He studied law in Javeriana University of Colombia and later obtained a master’s degree in economics.

How does Mexico's integration in Latin America differ from its relation with the US?

It is difficult to think that Mexico can totally liberate itself from its strong economic dependency on the North American economy. Both countries have a strong economic integration that is not easy to terminate. This means that Mexico cannot look in the same way to its southern neighbors, despite the signing of recent agreements such as the Pacific Alliance or more recent developments in the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Nevertheless, Mexico will always be an integral part of Latin America due to its historical and political heritage.

How has Mexico performed as an observer in UNASUR?

UNASUR has not yet regulated the condition of “observer countries.” This is why Mexico's condition as an observer is more of public relations exercise without practical implications for the time being.