Venezuela announced on Friday that it had transferred the Mercosur pro tempore chair to Argentina, having ended its legitimate tenure of the post, although the rest of the block's members had already complied with the formalities two weeks ago when they also decided to suspend the regime of president Nicolas Maduro.
The Venezuelan controversial foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez said in a release addressed to its Mercosur peers that having ended the legitimate exercise of the chair, Venezuela had transferred the responsibility in accordance with the legality, charters and treaties of the regional block.
We have legitimately exercised the Mercosur presidency during the corresponding half year, underlining the social dimension and human rights commitment of the block, twitted Ms Rodriguez on Friday.
But the fact is Argentina became chair of Mercosur last 14 December during a meeting of the foreign ministers from founding members, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, in Buenos Aires, to which the Venezuelan minister tried to crash in, despite not having been invited since Venezuela had been suspended from the block.
Venezuela was suspended of its rights as Mercosur member on 2 December, following the three-month period expiration, which had been granted by the other members to the Maduro regime to comply with trade and political rules and rulings, including one specifically on human rights.
Furthermore the founding members had decided on a special monitoring group of the Mercosur agenda during the six-month transition period which theoretically was under the chair of Venezuela. This was rejected point blank by Caracas which insisted in running the show although with no recognition from the rest of the block.
Ms Rodriguez at the time argued that the suspension was based on lies since of the 1.500 rules and rulings to incorporate, Venezuela had complied with 1.479. However the Mercosur secretariat only validates 931. At the time the foreign ministers affirmed that suspension will remain effective until it is agreed with Venezuela on the terms and conditions to reestablish the full exercise of its rights.
Following the decision Maduro agreed with his Uruguayan peer Tabare Vazquez on the mechanism to overcome the situation, by appealing to the Olivos Protocol, specifically designed to solve Mercosur controversies.
In related news the Paraguayan foreign minister Eladio Loizaga revealed that the rotating three-year post of Mercosur High Representative will fall upon his country. The current High Representative is Brazil's Florisvaldo Fier, a former lawmaker whose mandate ends on 31 January 2017. Loizaga said that Paraguay has yet to decide on the nomination, and since it is a high profile post in the region, it must be held by a person with the best credentials.