Latin AmericaLatin America
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday called the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba a new beginning but said many differences remain between the two nations and warned that the full normalization of ties will be a long process. He spoke hours after ceremonies were held in Havana and Washington to mark the restoration of ties after more than five decades of hostility.
The latest Mercosur summit, held last week in Brazil included a special statement, --besides the main regular declaration with 69 articles--, blasting the UK for violating international law and Argentine domestic law over the exploration of hydrocarbons in the Argentine continental shelf in proximity of the Malvinas Islands.
Guyana on Sunday warned it would “stoutly resist” plans by Venezuela to register residents in Essequibo and issue them identification cards for the neighbouring Spanish-speaking nation. Venezuela claims the region and has launched an aggressive campaign at domestic and international level calling president David Granger a 'provocateur”.
Mercosur agreed at the Brasilia summit that in the second half of the year they will address alternatives for the elimination of tariff and other similar barriers that impede the natural flow of trade of goods and services among its members. The initiative was agreed by Common Market Council, CMC, on the first day of deliberations and confirmed on Friday by the presidents of the group's full members.
In what can be considered her last speech before a Mercosur summit, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez, who is stepping down next December, hailed what she called the “magnitude of the importance of integration” in South America with the inclusion of both Venezuela and Bolivia showing the “success and the resounding failure for those who forecasted for years that the Mercosur was going to fail.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) slightly improved its outlook on Argentina’s economy saying the country will grow 0.1% in 2015 and will remain stagnant in 2016. Nevertheless, IMF warned the country is going through a “very delicate” situation and insisted that the improved outlook doesn’t change its views regarding Argentina.
Bolivian president Evo Morales defended his claim of sea for Bolivia and Malvinas for Argentina, during the last of his two-day very militant visit to Argentina before flying late Thursday to Brazil for the Mercosur summit.
Bolivia's incorporation as a full member of Mercosur will be addressed as of Thursday in Brasilia at the group's two-day presidential summit, an issue which could be completed by the first half of next year, despite some warnings from Bolivia's private sector.
Mercosur will be holding its half year presidential summit in Brasilia next Thursday and Friday, an event which will expose an abundance of trade and political conflicts, discrepancies and recurrent challenges despite all its members commitment to integration. Besides full members, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela and Brazil, leaders from Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana and Surinam have also been announced.
Guyanese President David Granger and Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge plan to attend the biannual Mercosur summit in Brasilia later this next, a Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed to the Spanish news agency EFE.