Uruguayan president Jose Mujica called on Sao Paulo corporations to cooperate with the development of Mercosur partners by adopting a policy of alliances with local companies and leaving aside ‘colonizing’ temptations.
“We must struggle so that the Paulista (Sao Paulo) bourgeoisie take on their shoulders the creation of allied companies in the rest of Mercosur and not the colonization of South America”, said Mujica on taking the Mercosur chair for the next six months.
“Brazil is not to blame for being so large nor are we to blame for being so small, those are the facts of reality. This therefore can be overcome by multiplying the number of actors (in Mercosur). Growth is not balanced with pity or crying, so welcome to the gang (Ecuadorean) President Correa”, said the Uruguayan leader inviting his Ecuadorean peer to join the trade block.
Ecuador and Bolivia, both associates, have been formally invited to become Mercosur full members, an incorporation process which is expected to be much more expedient than the case of Venezuela which remains stalled in the Paraguayan congress.
Venezuelan President Chavez first applied to full membership in 2006, received almost immediate legislative approval in Argentina and Uruguay, but only managed to overcome the Brazilian congress hurdle in December 2009. In Paraguay a group of Senators is contrary to President Chavez, whom they consider “non democratic”, but also President Fernando Lugo has lost control of a working congressional majority.
Further on President Mujica said that Mercosur needs to become “institutionally strong” with a firm justice system that rules on our misunderstandings. “We have a Mercosur with serious shortcomings such as the lack of strong institutions and an objective justice”.
Currently the Mercosur council of ministers has a draft for the creation of a Supreme Court for the block which was presented by Parlasur, Mercosur parliament. So far the block has a Disputes tribunal which has ruled in some cases favouring Uruguay and Paraguay, but has been ignored by Argentina and Brazil.
Nevertheless Mujica was upbeat about Mercosur, it enjoys “a relatively fair health”, but “we’ll keep going ahead” adding that the path for integration of countries is “full of difficulties but also of hope”.
Uruguayan Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro said that Mercosur for Uruguay was “irreplaceable” since the block absorbs 30% of the country’s production.
As to the job ahead in the next six months, Almagro mentioned improving the organic structure of Mercosur, which means ‘eliminating many offices’.
“There are over 250 different bodies in Mercosur, we need to systemize them and see which are useful and which have become redundant having accomplished their goal. These will have to be eliminated since they duplicate functions or simply don’t give results”, said Almagro.