Uruguayan president Jose Mujica promised his peer Hugo Chavez he would press strongly for Venezuela’s incorporation as full member of Mercosur because this will help balance the group.
The Venezuelan president this week visited Argentina, Uruguay and is currently in Bolivia before calling in Colombia.
“One of the points we talked about with our good old friend is our concern with Venezuela’s full and definitive incorporation to Mercosur which will contribute to mitigate the notorious asymmetries existent in Mercosur because of the size of its members, (Brazil, Argentina on one side, and Uruguay and Paraguay on the other)”, said Mujica.
Venezuela’s membership only needs the approval of the Paraguayan congress that so far has not considered the proposal and the government of President Fernando Lugo does not have the sufficient votes in the Legislative to support the initiative.
Uruguay and Paraguay have insistently protested that Mercosur in practical terms has become a two-member club, Brazil and Argentina that simply communicate their decisions to the junior members and appeal to all sorts of resources to limit access to their markets.
“Mercosur is too important, we need Venezuela because it’s a great market for Uruguayan produce and they have energy, plus bringing fresh air to the group”, said Mujica.
During his meeting in Montevideo with Uruguayan president Mujica, Chavez also announced that the two countries government owned oil and gas companies had reached an agreement for the joint exploitation of the so called “mature wells”, which could represent a significant help for Uruguay which imports all the fuel it consumes.
Chavez said that the oil agreement between Ancap and Pdvsa “will help ensure Uruguay’s energy future”. He added “the fuel is yours, we’re sharing it the same way Uruguay shares its livestock genetics with Venezuela”.
Uruguay’ Industry and energy minister Roberto Kreimerman later gave more details of the Orinoco fields’ mature wells agreement with Venezuela.
“Uruguay’s share will be 40% of production, Venezuela takes the rest, and we will also have to cover some costs. However we are talking of a minimum 5.000 bps out of the 40.000 Uruguay consumes”, said Kreimerman.
Besides oil Uruguay and Venezuela signed agreements on the use of Venezuela’s satellite, Venesat; sharing agriculture and livestock genetics; software investigation; agriculture and food supplies and finally the construction of houses and support warehouses for materials.