Uruguay made public on Friday a letter sent to Mercosur fellow full members stating the finalization, this Saturday 30 July, of its six-month presidency of the group, which means the rotating chair should be transferred to Venezuela. The letter was accompanied by a 32 page report of its six-month as chair of the group, particularly intense because of the trade negotiations with the European Union.
Despite objections from Brazil and Paraguay, Uruguay next Saturday 30 July will transfer to Venezuela the rotating chair of Mercosur for the second half of the year, as indicated in the “group's rules and regulations”.
Paraguay announced officially that it will not be attending the Common Market Council of Mercosur in Montevideo next 30 July, if the agenda includes the transfer of the group's presidency to Venezuela.
Brazil committed a great mistake on supporting Venezuela to the Mercosur trade agreement back in 2012, and the country must be impeded from taking over the pro-tempore presidency of the group until it complies with all the requisites to be a full member, said Brazil's foreign minister Jose Serra.
Mercosur members are requesting from Venezuela concrete gestures in favor of democracy and human rights if they are to consider the transfer of the group's pro tempore chair from Uruguay to Caracas, pointed out Paraguayan foreign minister Eladio Loizaga a day after the group was unable to reach a consensus on the issue that has become particularly controversial when not frustrating.
By New York Times Editorial Board
This summer, Venezuela was poised to assume the rotating presidency of Mercosur, a trade bloc that includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. But at the urging of Paraguay, Mercosur heads of state are considering blocking Venezuela, at least temporarily, citing the erosion of democracy there.
Uruguay ratified on Thursday its willingness to transfer the Mercosur presidency to Venezuela despite objections from the other members, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. In a brief statement in its official site, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Uruguay, currently holding the Mercosur pro tempore chair reiterates its position to proceed to transfer the presidency, in abidance with what is established by the current Mercosur rules.
Mercosur is again split over Venezuela because Paraguay, and apparently Brazil, have not been consulted regarding the decision to hand the pro tempore presidency of the block to Venezuela in July, as was agreed in Montevideo by Uruguay and Argentina.
Mercosur presidential summit next July in Montevideo has been cancelled, but the six-month presidency of the group, currently held by Uruguay will be transferred as scheduled to Venezuela, although some conditions of the event are “pending discussion”, said on Monday foreign ministers Susana Malcorra and host Rodolfo Nin Novoa.
Brazil and Paraguay foreign ministers Jose Serra and Eladio Loizaga expressed deep concern with the Venezuela crisis situation, particularly the economic and human rights continued deterioration, and reiterated their two countries willingness to cooperate and promote dialogue.