Uruguay will hand over the chair of Mercosur to Venezuela at the end of July, as indicated by the organization's calendar, and does not support the implementation of the Democratic clause against the government of president Nicolas Maduro, as sponsored by OAS secretary general, Luis Almagro a former Uruguayan foreign minister.
The comment was made by Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez during a meeting with the ruling coalition Broad Front Secretariat, in which he emphasized that the country's position remains as expressed in a recent statement shared with Argentina, Chile and Colombia.
This position is in clear defiance of Secretary General Almagro's position who is insisting in implementing the Democratic clause on Venezuela given the current political, social and economic situation. However the group headed by Argentina insists that preference must be given to dialogue and any opportunity to have the Venezuela government and opposition sitting at the same table to discuss a peaceful, institutional way out of the confrontation.
As to Mercosur chair, Vazquez emphasized that the handing over of the pro tempore position to Venezuela will take place at the end of July, although it was not clear if at a presidential summit or meeting of foreign ministers.
This position is contrary to the request from Paraguay who has asked for a special Mercosur foreign ministers meeting to suspend passing the position for the next six months to Venezuela given the current situation in the country. Paraguayan minister Eladio Loizaga said he was following precise instructions from president Horacio Cartes on the issue. Paraguay so far has been the only country suspended from Mercosur under the Democratic clause, in 2012, something which the landlocked country never accepted, particularly the political party that supports Cartes.
During Paraguay's suspension Venezuela was admitted as a full member of Mercosur, which remained stalled since the Paraguayan Senate refused to take a vote n Venezuela under the Chavez ‘undemocratic’ regime.
Brazilian foreign ministry sources has also floated the same idea, suspending giving the rotating chair to Venezuela, but there has been nothing official, so far.
Almagro meantime downplayed dialogue attempts in Venezuela arguing there are no elements to ensure the possibility that both sides in the dispute trust each other and will sit to talk.
The former foreign minister of ex president Jose Mujica has been involved in a personal exchange of public recriminations with Maduro, who has called him a traitor, CIA agent, puppet of the State Department, while the OAS chief has said the Venezuela president is on route to becoming a petty dictator. However the exchange of public offences has led several countries to remind Almagro that the OAS belongs to its members and not its occasional well paid 'managers'.
Furthermore the Broad Front following the meeting with Vazquez let out a release, with unanimous support, saying that in Venezuela, in no way has the constitutional order been altered, to the extent of invoking the Democratic clause, and insisted that the only way out is dialogue, and backed the Unasur initiative on the matter.
Likewise the political group to which Almagro belongs, and headed by Mujica adopted a similar position, dialogue and political understanding is the only path. There are violent conflicts but democratic institutions are not ruptured.