The Venezuelan-Colombian Chamber for Economic Integration (Cavecol) has formally requested national authorities that Venezuela re-joins the Andean Community of Nations, CAN, from which it pulled out three months ago following the original decision dating back to 2006.
“The importance and contribution of the Venezuelan economy goes without questioning and so does the fact that it can play a leading role in the process of revamping and refurbishing the Andean community”, said Cavecol CEO Luis Alberto Russián, who underlined that conditions since the decision to leave CAN was taken in 2006, “have changed dramatically”
Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez was hopeful that on leaving CAN in 2006, (effective 2010/2011) the country would have ample time to complete the process of becoming a full member of Mercosur, a goal which remains elusive in spite of the fact that three of the four member countries, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have given their full support and legislative approval.
However an annoyed Paraguayan congress and a weak Executive in Asuncion have been unable to muster the sufficient votes for Venezuela’s full membership.
Since Venezuela left CAN, Caracas has tried to strike bilateral deals which each Andean country. In the case of Colombia, a 90-day extension term agreed by Presidents Hugo Chávez and Juan Manuel Santos from Colombia, under the original liberalization Program of the Cartagena Agreement remains in force but is next to expire.
However there are uncertainties, according to CEO Russián as to whether the renewal of the agreement is automatic, as seems to indicate the publication in the Official Gazette, or is it necessary for both countries to effectively ratify another extension.
Cavecol is pushing for negotiations on an Economic and Productive Complementation Agreement between Colombia and Venezuela, but in a few months “it is difficult to see how the 40 years of CAN could be compacted and presented”.
Cavecol forwarded copies of its CAN-Venezuela request and recommendation to the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Science and Technology, and Intermediate Industries; the board of the Venezuelan National Assembly (AN); members of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino); ambassadors of Andean countries to Venezuela, and the CAN Secretary-General, among others.
Russián insisted with “the deep geopolitical changes that have taken place since 2006 with new presidents in several member states besides an “adequate support of Venezuela's relationship with the hemisphere is noteworthy.
Finally Russián said that Venezuela at some point could easily turn into a “hinge” between CAN and Mercosur.
”Convergence of both blocks seems an excellent opportunity to reinforce Unasur (Union of South American Nations)” and the regional integration process concluded Cavecol CEO.