Mercosur's disarray and fault lines were again exposed when Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay insisted that Venezuela's self proclamation as president of the group was invalid, and also expressed disappointment with Uruguay for having ended its mandate last Saturday causing great uncertainty.
Venezuela rejected Argentina's call for an urgent Mercosur meeting and underlined it is exercising the group's pro tempore presidency legally accusing Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay of being part of a Triple Alliance which is re-editing a sort of Plan Condor against Venezuela to harass and criminalize its model of development and democracy.
Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have announced they do not support Venezuela as the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur, further deepening controversy in the group which could even hinder ongoing trade negotiations with the European Union and closer links with the Pacific Alliance.
Brazil and Paraguay's rejection to Venezuela holding the Mercosur rotating chair sounds much like a desperate attitude, but nevertheless it is unpostponable, said Venezuela foreign minister Delcy Rodríguez: ”it is impossible that the compliance of the (Mercosur) treaty can't be respected”.
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.