Brazil says all Mercosur leaders have to decide lifting Paraguay’s suspension
Brazil said it is hard to see Paraguay rejoining Mercosur and Unasur before next year’s presidential election. The two blocks suspended the landlocked country following the removal of Fernando Lugo last June and replacing him with President Federico Franco.
“Nothing indicates that South American presidents will make a decision on the issue, in the absence of facts that corroborate the full rule of democracy in Paraguay”, said Brazilian Foreign minister Antonio Patriota during a press round on Monday.
“Free and transparent elections are an essential element to confirm Paraguay is adhering to democratic practice”, added the minister.
Paraguay was suspended from Mercosur and Unasur following the removal of Lugo, impeached by an overwhelming majority in the Senate, but in a process which was not accepted by other South American countries since it was considered a democratic rupture of the democratic order.
Mercosur took advantage of the absence of Paraguay to vote the incorporation of Venezuela as full member, which was pending approval since 2006 from the Paraguayan Senate.
Patriota said there is no legal impediment to lift the suspension on Paraguay before April 2013 elections, although Mercosur and Unasur leaders will support such a decision on ‘facts’.
The Brazilian official underlined that South American countries will assess the compliance in Paraguay of democratic rule “even after the elections”.
“It is encouraging that the electoral calendar has been confirmed. But we will have to see how the process evolves”, indicated Patriota before meeting with the Unasur high level group specially created to follow the situation in Paraguay.
Mercosur is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, plus Venezuela and Unasur all South American countries including Guyana and Suriname.