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.
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.
Venezuela announced to fellow Mercosur members that for the rest of the year it was the new chair of the group, following on the expiration of Uruguay's six month mandate on Saturday, 30 July. The news was released by Spain's official news agency EFE, which alleges to have had access to the letter sent by the Venezuelan foreign ministry to the other four members.
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 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.