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Autonomy, regional integration and Brazilian foreign policy: Mercosul and Unasul

The goal of this article is to discuss how autonomy as an idea and practice inBrazilian foreign policy relates to the country's stance inregional integration process inthe Southern Cone region and, more broadly, in South America, from 1991 to 2012. It discusses the meaning of autonomy interms of Brazilian policies for the region, as well as its consequences inthe process of integration itself and regional organizations. The article identifies shifts and continuities in the idea of autonomy and evaluates how they affect the consolidation of organizations, particularly, Mercosul and Unasul. Building upon the relevant literature and primary sources, it concludes that ambiguities exist; yet there is a prevailing trend towards the strengthening of cooperation and integration. The strengthening of democracy and peace are key interests during the investigated timeframe.

Brazilian foreign policy; Mercosul; Unasul; autonomy; regional integration

Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos (IESP) da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) R. da Matriz, 82, Botafogo, 22260-100 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel. (55 21) 2266-8300, Fax: (55 21) 2266-8345 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil