Guyana Ambassador George Talbot, from left, Bolivia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Maria del Carmen Almendras, Paraguay President's Mario Abdo Benítez, Colombia's President Ivan Duque, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno, Peru's President Martin Vizcarra, Uruguay’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ariel Bergamino and Surinam Ambassador Marciano Edgard Armaketo, wave as they use for an official group photo backdropped by La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, Friday, March 22, 2019. South American heads of state are meeting in Santiago to discuss the development of a new regional political bloc called Prosur, the idea being to replace the Unasur, the current body that many describe as defunct. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
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Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, from left, Ecuador's Lenin Moreno, Colombia's President Ivan Duque, Peru's President Martin Vizcarra, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, walk to the staging area for a a group photo, at La Moneda presidential palace, in Santiago, Chile, Friday, March 22, 2019. The South American heads of state are meeting to discuss the development of a new regional political bloc called Prosur, the idea being to replace the Unasur, the current body that many describe as defunct. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
SANTIAGO, Chile – A group of South American presidents has launched a new regional bloc to replace the Union of South American Nations that was promoted by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to counter U.S. influence in the region.
The Unasur group was started in 2008 when many of the founding nations were still led by leftists.
But enthusiasm for the group waned, especially under more moderate or conservative successor governments, and eventually the 12 nations suspended their memberships.
Leaders of the Prosur bloc launched Friday in the Chilean capital of Santiago said it will focus on defending democracy and freedom. It was started by the presidents of: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.
Chavez's successor, President Nicolas Maduro, was not invited not the meeting.
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