A Mercosur internal conflict involving Argentina and Paraguay which is conditioning the coming presidential summit in Brazil and has again suspended a vote for Venezuela’s final incorporation to the group, seems to have escalated in the last 24 hours.
Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo for the second time in a year withdrew the request from Congress for the approval of Venezuela’s incorporation as a full member of Mercosur. This leaves the issue for next year.
The blockade of landlocked Paraguay’s maritime and fluvial trade which threatens Mercosur unity has been “granted” a five-day truce by the Argentine maritime workers union responsible for the industrial action.
Landlocked Paraguay has called on Argentina to put an end to the blockade of Paraguayan maritime agencies which has virtually cut the country’s foreign trade. Paraguayan Foreign Affairs minister Hector Lacognata also revealed that if the month-long issue is not solved in the next few days, “Paraguay will be absent from the coming Mercosur summit December 15”.
Paraguay summer and winter crops in 2010 totalled 12.688.908 tons establishing a new record according to agronomist Luis Cubilla from the Agriculture Biotechnology Institute. The last best harvest was in 2008 with 10.5 million tons.
The Paraguayan Senate is expected to finally vote for the incorporation of Venezuela as Mercosur full member next week following intense political negotiations. Paraguay’s vote is decisive to complete the Venezuelan membership process since lawmakers of the other Mercosur countries Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil have already approved the incorporation.
Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo and the team of Brazilian and Paraguayan doctors who are treating him for lymphatic cancer symbolically champagne-toasted with mineral water the last session of chemotherapy, which apparently has been successful.
Venezuela’s incorporation to Mercosur as full member seems closer as the Paraguayan Senate readies to consider the issue following on political agreements worked out by President Fernando Lugo.
Paraguay's Foreign Minister, Héctor Lacognata, summoned US Ambassador in Asunción Liliana Ayalde to express the concerns raised among the Paraguayan government after Wikileaks reported that US diplomats have been conducting numerous espionage activities within the country.
London's Natural History Museum has suspended a planned expedition to a remote region of Paraguay after protests that it might disturb one of the world's last uncontacted tribes.