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.
The Uruguayan government announced on Thursday it will not fund the return trip or to Turkey or any third country, of former Guantanamo prisoner, Jihad Ahmad Dhiab who went missing for over a month and this week turned up at the Uruguayan consulate in Caracas, Venezuela.
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.
Finland´s UPM pulp conglomerate which already has a plant in Uruguay announced it will commence discussions with the Uruguayan government on the development of logistics infrastructure for a possible mounting of another mill. Discussions will include railroad and roads, which currently are a critical challenge to establish large scale industrial operation in the Uruguayan inland and to connect it to a deep sea port.
Mercosur asks Venezuela for 'democratic and human rights gestures' before transferring the group's chair
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.
The number of vessel calls dropped 6.4% and passengers landed 4.1%, during the last 2015/2016 cruise season compared to 2041/2015, according to the final report from Uruguay's Tourism ministry. The number of passenger and crew landed in Montevideo and Punta del Este reached 319.000 having spent an estimate 11.1 million dollars.
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.
Mercosur four founding members meeting in Montevideo have been unable to reach a consensus on whether to transfer, for the next six months, the group's pro tempore presidency to Venezuela and decided on a new round of talks next Thursday. Uruguay insists in complying with the charter and calendar, but Paraguay and Brazil question the current government of Venezuela's credentials for the job, and Argentina has an ambiguous position.