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.
Paraguay formally requested on Thursday a meeting of Mercosur foreign ministers to address the situation in Venezuela which is undergoing a critical political, social and economic scenario. The request was presented to Uruguay which currently holds the chair of the trade block made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
We respect the Brazilian constitutional process and thus Argentina does not have plans to follow on president Dilma Rousseff announcement that she will appeal to Mercosur to implement the democratic clause if the impeachment process to remove the head of state from office advances in the country's Senate.
On Saturday 26 March the Asuncion Treaty, which gave birth to Mercosur, the Common Market of the South, will be 25, and even with celebration plans the mood of its members is not enthusiastic following years of too much ideology and too little trade and business, distant from the original idea and purpose.
The attempt by Uruguay to draft a strong Mercosur and Unasur resolution in support of embattled Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has foundered. Argentina is only prepared to express support for Brazil's institutions while Chile and Paraguay have balked at the idea of personalizing the issue in Rousseff and her Workers Party.