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Journal for Peace and Justice Studies

Volume 24, Issue 1, 2014

Eduardo Soto Parra
Pages 87-117
DOI: 10.5840/peacejustice20142414

Energy from the South towards Peace: The Role of UNASUR in Preventing Internal Political Conflict

This article is about the novel role of the Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (South American Nations Union) - UNASUR as a peacekeeper in the South American region. It begins with an overview of UNASUR, its history, legal framework, and its mandate related to peacekeeping activities. Then, the efforts for regional integration and peacekeeping are addressed, with an explanation of the different frameworks backing those intents and the new peacemaking body known as UNASUR. Examples of political conflict are outlined, namely those in Bolivia and Venezuela, and the ways in which the novel intervention of UNASUR deescalated the violence. After providing a brief description of South American history, its recent conflicts, and a review of some applicable conflict causation theories, the article concludes with a theoretical explanation of the role of UNASUR and its intervention for building peace in the region. This leads to questions and suggestions about how the work of UNASUR can be protected and enhanced to benefit the creation and maintenance of harmonious relationships within South American states.