The president of the Paraguayan congress Senator Jorge Oviedo Matto said that Paraguay should withdraw from Mercosur if the block during its Tuesday summit in Montevideo agrees the incorporation of Venezuela “eluding the approval of the Legislative as indicates the Constitution and the Mercosur charter”.
However the legal advisor of Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, Emilio Camacho advanced that the Executive would respect the decision from Congress regarding Venezuela’s request for incorporation to Mercosur as a full member, request pending since 2006.
“This administration position is very clear, we believe Venezuela must be incorporated to Mercosur but we are also very clear in so far that this must be done in the framework of the Constitution”, said Camacho who added that any modification to the Treaty of Asuncion, the founding Mercosur charter “must have the approval or rejection from Congress and this government has no doubts at all about this”.
Since the Paraguayan Legislative under opposition control is the only one not to have voted the Venezuelan adherence protocol, Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica, host of the Montevideo summit, is sponsoring another system for a direct incorporation of Venezuela to the block.
“No, I don’t think it will happen and if does happen, I believe and I will sponsor a bill to have Paraguay withdraw from Mercosur”, said Senator Oviedo Matto who added that given this option “we won’t be loosing much and there will be no parting tears. What have been the advantages so far?”
He emphasized that the Paraguayan constitution must be respected and “we will be monitoring closely the attitude of President Lugo during the discussions in Montevideo”.
The Paraguayan constitution demands that every international agreement adopted by Paraguay must be submitted to Congress and following its approval it is finally incorporated to the country’s positive Law.
Furthermore the Mercosur Asuncion Treaty demands that decisions be incorporated once they have the unanimous approval from all member states.
Senator Oviedo Mattos said the Paraguayan Legislative position is not against Venezuela but against President Hugo Chavez whose government does not respect freedom of the press or political freedom and strongly limits the activities of the opposition forces.
Other more extreme political groups in the Senate warned that if President Lugo is part of a ploy to have Venezuela fully incorporated to Mercosur ignoring the stance of Congress, he will face impeachment and “he does not have a majority in the Legislative”.
In Montevideo Uruguay’s Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro said “there was a formula on the table for discussion”, and could be defined by the presidents on Tuesday. “The objective is to find the mechanisms that will enable the quick incorporation of Venezuela and for this we are working on the basis of consensus and respect for the Asuncion treaty”.
“There is a declaration proposal (for the presidential summit) and another proposal on the decision; both are under consideration”, added Almagro in reference to what has been described as the ‘Mujica formula’.
President Mujica has a private meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning with Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo with whom he will discuss the incorporation mechanism.