Piñera Wants A More Mature Relationship With Argentina And More Integration

By Dialogo
May 04, 2010

The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, affirmed that it is time for a “much more mature” relationship with Argentina and spoke in favor of greater integration between the two South American neighbors in an interview published in Buenos Aires Sunday. “I believe that the time has come today for a much more mature (Argentine-Chilean) relationship. I’m in favor of promoting much fuller collaboration and integration in multiple areas, economic and also physical,” the president told the Argentine daily La Nación. Piñera admitted that there are political differences between his administration and that of Argentine president Cristina Kirchner. “Of course there are differences! Long live difference!, as the French would say,” he exclaimed. “Relationships between countries have to be based on shared interests and principles, but naturally, it’s permissible that there can be disagreements. Every country is free, and therefore, I respect the path that Argentina chooses for itself in its free and democratic elections. Of course, Chile also won’t give up the freedom to choose its own path,” he explained. President Piñera described the existence of two groups of countries in the region, which he preferred not to call “blocks,” but rather “two visions, which differ in their conceptions of democracy, of the model of economic development, and also in the healthy relationship that should exist between the state and civil society.” The president said that one of the these models “is followed by Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, perhaps Ecuador,” and the other by “countries like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, and others as well,” but he clarified that Argentina’s location in one or the other group “is a choice that the Argentines have to make.” With regard to possible paths toward economic integration between the two Southern Cone neighbors, Piñera proposed, for example, “exploring greater integration with regard to border mineral deposits.” “Also integrating our energy systems. Let them be interconnected so that idle capacity in one country can help the other when it has a deficit, and vice versa. For all this, trust and respect for treaties and agreements is fundamental,” he commented.