The president of the Brazilian Senate Jose Sarney reiterated Tuesday he does not support the incorporation of Venezuela to the South American trade block Mercosur, since “decisions from the government of that country represent a crumbling and deviation of democracy”.
Sarney who ruled Brazil from 1985 to 1990 and was one of the architects together with Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay of the creation of Mercosur, told reporters in Brasilia that the “democratic clause imposed by Mercosur”, must be respected and underlined that “Venezuela does not respect the clause”.
The Foreign Affairs Committee from the Brazilian Senate is scheduled to resume debates Tuesday on Venezuela’s incorporation request since the initiative has already been approved by the legislative branched of Argentina and Uruguay, while in Paraguay the proposal has been temporarily withdrawn by the Executive fearing its rejection.
Tuesday’s Committee discussion will also receive the mayor of Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, Antonio Ledezma; a representative from ALADI the Latinamerican Integration Association and the deputy head of Israeli associations from Venezuela, David Bittan.
Ledezma has argued intensely to have Venezuela incorporated in spite of belonging to his country’s opposition because he believes it will help “to contain” President Hugo Chavez, who will “be forced to adapt to the democratic norms and workings of the trade group”.
The Brazilian Senate committee will take a vote next Thursday and if approved the full house will have a definitive vote on the incorporation protocols.
Senator Tasso Jereissati, the member in charge of presenting the case before the committee has suggested rejecting the requested because of the “authoritarian attitude” of President Chavez whom he accused of leading a movement to “dismantle democratic freedoms and architecture”, totally contrary to the spirit of Mercosur.
However the government of President Lula da Silva with the support from the Brazilian corporations has been lobbying intensely to have the incorporation approved, since they anticipate excellent business opportunities in oil rich Venezuela, a country short of food, infrastructure, industrial products which is cutting relations with its main trade partner and supplier, neighbouring Colombia.
Furthermore Brazilian business chambers have told Senators that they fear reprisals from the Chavez administration against their companies, if Venezuela is not finally incorporated as a full member of Mercosur.
The issue as can be seen is highly controversial and has been postponed on several occasions, since the original request was first presented in 2006.