Union of the Western Andes

Most relevant polities of present-day Earth are either prominent independent states (Brazil, Lebanon, AUSCOM, to name a few) or continental federations (USRE, Laniakea). However, a fair number of smaller powers have gathered into regional unions that are more limited in scale and scope, yet may rise to Terran or even interstellar relevance. This is the case of the Union of the Western Andes -- often abbreviated as UWA, or simply "the Southern Union." This trade, diplomatic and military union of sovereign states incorporates a hundred nationstates and federations that are broadly located west of the Andes range, ranging from Patagonia to Colombia and from Bolivia to the Pacific Ocean. It accounts for a little over a hundred million inhabitants and has a significant off-world presence. Its economy is centred around the production of stars-in-a-mist flowers and their refinement into geometry drives.

Southern America followed a pattern similar to that of other developed regions during the Low Age, fragmenting into a myriad of small regional states whose unions and squabbles formed the bulk of international relations until the appearance of large continental blocks such as the USRE or Laniakea. The Union of the Western Andes was born in this context of ideological and political fragmentation, first as a trade union then as a defence pact. Back then, at the end of the Low Age, before the advent of the interplanetary era, the Earth was still a wild place, where local powers were quick to use their newfound industrial bases to step on the sovereignty of smaller powers. More often than not, these unions coalesced against an ambitious nationstate. In the case of the UWA, this encroaching neighbour was Brazil, the regional heavyweight of the late Low Age. Though it never degenerated into a formal war, the relationship between the two south American powers remains difficult, albeit facilitated by a radical divergence in aims and goals. Brazil is focused on the Earth, while the UWA looks to the stars.

What made the fortunes of the UWA in the past century is the geometry flower, or star-in-a-mist (nigella stellaris), out of which the four-dimensional geometry drives are manufactured. If the Andes in general are ideal for the industrial-scale growth of stars-in-a-mist, only the relatively untouched western side of the range still harbours the necessary supporting ecosystem. With the other hotspot of geometry flowers on Earth being in USRE-controlled northern India, the UWA positioned itself as an ideal partner for Earth-based powers and nations seeking for independent access to FTL propulsion. Laniakea in particular is a prominent partner of the UWA. Like all Earth-based agrarian powers, the UWA is a highly developed, high-tech polity, particularly advanced in bioengineering and environmental management.

Ideologically speaking, the UWA finds itself in a somewhat peculiar place. Though based around core principles of socialist South American unity, it diverges from industrial-era bolivarianism due to its abandonment of nationalism (what separates the UWA from Laniakea or the USRE is that it doesn't entertain the ambition of becoming a state, instead being content as a union of sovereign entities) and state-controlled economies (the UWA economy is instead organized around non-state owned cooperatives that enjoy a great degree of freedom within a radical socialist understanding of common property.) Though it doesn't possess a militant space fleet, the UWA is very active off-world, especially in the solar system. 

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