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Venezuela announces it now holds the chair of Mercosur; strong objections from Paraguay (and Brazil)

Monday, August 1st 2016 - 13:09 UTC
Full article 8 comments
The president Nicolas Maduro administration made the announcement despite the objections from both Paraguay and Brazil The president Nicolas Maduro administration made the announcement despite the objections from both Paraguay and Brazil
Paraguayan minister announced a round of consultations with Brazil and Argentina, and anticipated it favors the chair goes to Argentina Paraguayan minister announced a round of consultations with Brazil and Argentina, and anticipated it favors the chair goes to Argentina
Uruguay on 30 July announced it was ending its six-month mandate as chair and understood there are no impediments for Venezuela to follow on the post Uruguay on 30 July announced it was ending its six-month mandate as chair and understood there are no impediments for Venezuela to follow on the post

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.

 The letter said that “as of today, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with satisfaction, will be taking over the responsibility of the Pro Tempore presidency of Mercosur, founded on article 12 of the Asunción Treaty and in correspondence with Article 5 of the Ouro Preto Protocol”.

The 29 July letter was addressed by the Venezuelan foreign ministry to the Mercosur members peer ministries, emphasizing that the these articles are “the only foundation norm instruments which regulate the provenance and continuity of the Mercosur pro tempore presidency”.

Likewise during the tenure of the presidency, “Venezuela will make a major effort to guarantee the legality, institutions, legitimacy and performance of this important South American integration block, with the purpose of a profound unionist commitment”.

The president Nicolas Maduro administration makes the announcement despite the fact that both Paraguay and Brazil argue Venezuela is not entitled to hold the presidency of the group since it does not comply with the administrative, political and economic conditions to perform such duties.

Both countries insist that Venezuela must comply with the conditions agreed in 2012, when it was admitted to the group, most of which remain to be fulfilled and thus the country is not a full member and prevented from exercising the presidency. Paraguay also questions the democratic credentials of the Maduro regime and supports OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro proposal to apply the democratic clause. If the initiative is approved the member country can be suspended until democratic institutions and human rights are full respected.

Last Friday Uruguay on ending its six-month mandate as Mercosur chair, sent a letter to its peer members explaining its decision and arguing “there are no legal arguments which impeded the transfer of the presidency to Venezuela”. The letter had attached a 32/page report on Uruguay's six-month performance.

“Uruguay understands that currently there are no legal arguments to impede the transfer of the pro tempore presidency to Venezuela” said the letter sent out on Friday.

The articles invoked by Caracas supporting Venezuela's chair are that the position must be delivered and rotated every six months among country members in alphabetical order.

However Paraguay argues that the presidency, once left by Uruguay, remained vacant, because there is no such framework as an automatic transfer. Paraguayan foreign minister Eladio Loizaga said that a consensus is essential for another member of the block to hold the chair.

The minister added it would begin a round of consultations with Brazil and Argentina to look for an alternative to the current situation created by Venezuela's unilateral interpretation of the rules. Loizaga has anticipated Paraguay favors handing the (alphabetical order) Mercosur chair to Argentina.

So far the only country to congratulate Venezuela for having taken the Mercosur chair is associate member Bolivia. President Evo Morales twitted over the weekend several times welcoming Venezuela's presidency of the block.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Don Alberto

    Venezuela cannot possibly hold the chair of Mercosur, as the day before yesterday I annouced that I hold the chair of Mercosur - Maduro's little bird must be intoxicated.

    Aug 01st, 2016 - 03:39 pm 0
  • Kanye

    Mercosur is finally hoisted by its own petard.

    Venezuela was brought on by Mercosur member states promoting the “Bolivarian revolution” in 2012, under dubious circumstances. Paraguay was suspended at the time.

    Now, member states object to Venezuela taking the Presidency. Mercosur itself will be suspended from operating, as they will not cooperate with Venezuela.
    At best, little Uruguay, already paralyzed by Socialist economic ideology, will continue to cosy up to them, and Argentina will sit on the fence.

    Mercosur is for all intents and purposes, dead.
    What did they ever achieve anyway?

    Aug 01st, 2016 - 04:38 pm 0
  • ChrisR

    “The letter had attached a 32/page report on Uruguay's six-month performance.”

    Why send 32 BLANK pages?

    Aug 01st, 2016 - 06:25 pm 0
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