As I've noted, the Rio Group's expansion into a formal organization is a very interesting development, but we have to think about what the potential practical implications will actually be. Along those lines, it is important not to confuse analysis with what you want. This is what Mark Weisbrot does. With no evidence whatsoever, he proclaims:
Latin America, once under the control of the United States, is increasingly emerging as a power bloc with its own interests and agenda.
Latin America is not a "power bloc" to the extent that such a phrase even has any real meaning. Plus, Latin America is not an "it" with a unified stance on much of anything.
Can this new organization have significant regional and global influence? Maybe so, but many factors weigh against it. Seeking to forge unity in a formal manner on critical issues without U.S. meddling is a positive step for the region, but it will be a tough row to hoe. Then moving from unity on an issue to actual use of power will be yet more problematic:
An organisation without the US and Canada will be more capable of defending democracy, as well as economic and social progress in the region when it is under attack.
Again, maybe, and it would be nice. But evidence is sorely lacking. We should not confuse "absence of U.S." with "unified action."