Mercosur leaders agreed on Friday to call home for consultation their ambassadors to Spain, France, Italy and Portugal to protest last week's forced diversion of the Bolivian president's aircraft. They also strongly defended their right to offer asylum Friday, venting anger at claims of US spying in the region while intelligence leaker Edward Snowden's fate hangs in the balance.
“Mercosur has closed its doors to Paraguay and it’s not good for Latinamerican integration”, was the first reaction from Asuncion after the group announced the presidency for Venezuela and lifting the suspension of Paraguay next 15 August.
President Nicolas Maduro remembered former leader Hugo Chavez and pledged his main priority as president of Mercosur would be to ensure the quick return of Paraguay to the group. Maduro made the statement on Friday in Montevideo during the ceremony in which he received the official Mercosur presidency gavel from Uruguayan president Jose Mujica which means he will be holding the pro tempore chair for the next six months.
This coming August 15, Mercosur will lift the suspension on Paraguay's participations that has held since June 29 2012, Uruguay Minister Luis Almagro announced on Thursday during a meeting of the group’s foreign ministers in Montevideo.
President-elect Horacio Cartes will not make any comments on the ongoing dispute of Paraguay with Mercosur until after the group’s summit in Uruguay next Friday, when official decisions on the subject are expected to be made public. However for both sides any decision will most probably be challenging and ratify that Mercosur has become a political group far from its original trade and investment purposes.
Paraguay reiterated on Tuesday that if Venezuela assumes as pro termpore chair of Mercosur, it is not interested in returning to the group and discarded Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro pledge to ensure Paraguay is fully reincorporated.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said his government has received an asylum application from US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden and the fugitive must now decide if he wants to fly to Caracas.
Paraguay called for practical sense from its Mercosur partners Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to try and overcome the current impasse which could lead to a rift if Venezuela occupies the chair of the group at this week’s summit in Montevideo. Paraguay does not recognize Venezuela’s full membership because it was decided in its absence.
Presidents Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela said Friday they were willing to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The NSA whistleblower has asked for asylum in several countries, including Nicaragua and Venezuela.
In the eve of the Managua summit which will focus on creating a new Economic Zone, Petrocaribe, the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s oil treaty, continues to play a vital role in the economic development of its 18 member states from the Central America and Caribbean region. But given the current political and economic climate in Venezuela, the question remains if Petrocaribe’s cheap oil is sustainable?