Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil are considering the “demotion” of Venezuela's Mercosur full membership unless by next August 12 it complies with all conditions to hold such a position, according to the Brazilian media following a meeting of the three presidents in the sidelines of the opening of the Rio Olympic Games.
According to O Estado de Sao Paulo, Michel Temer met last Friday with Argentina's Mauricio Macri and Paraguay's Horacio Cartes to assess the current situation of the Mercosur presidency following the self proclamation decided by Venezuela in a unilateral action.
At the brief meeting in Brasilia at the Itamaraty Palace, seat of Brazil's foreign ministry, previous to a reception hosted by president Temer to the 37 visiting heads of state and government attending the opening of the Games, the leaders and their advisors considered the demoting Venezuela of its full membership which would eliminate that country's veto power.
“We need to wait until 12 August, the deadline for Venezuela to comply with all the conditions agreed back in 2012 when it was admitted as full member of the group. Foreign ministers will be talking to the ambassadors to confirm how to follow. There's some resistance from Uruguay to the initiative, admitted president Temer according to O Estado.
On 12 August Venezuela must have complied with all the accords to which are subject Mercosur members, and Caracas is still missing a couple of them, one referred to trade and tariffs, the other, even more important essential to the group and the founding charter, the Asunción treaty on Human Rights.
According to the three presidents, if by that date, Venezuela has not approved those accords it will no longer have the condition of full member of Mercosur.
In anticipation of this situation Brazil and Paraguay favor advancing Argentina's presidency, while Buenos Aires is inclined to have an interim presidency this half year to be exercised by a group of ambassadors.
The controversial situation was triggered when Uruguay, contrary to what fellow members recommended, ended its six/month presidency of Mercosur of Friday 29 July, which was immediately, and unilaterally taken over by Venezuela, self proclaiming itself as the new president until the end of the year. This last week the Venezuelan foreign ministry raised the Mercosur flag at its headquarters in Caracas
However even when Uruguay did not deliver the presidency directly to Venezuela, it argues that legal issues come ahead of political considerations, implicitly supporting Venezuela, although not necessarily the self proclamation.
So 12 August becomes a crucial date for the future of Mercosur and according to Paraguayan sources representatives from the four founding members are scheduled to meet again following last week's cordial but not conclusive” appointment in Montevideo, on 23 August.
Paraguay which is proving to be the most critical of Venezuela argues that president Nicolás Maduro administration does not abide by democratic principles, holds over 100 political prisoners and wants to close down the Legislative because the opposition won an absolute majority with 70% of votes in the midterm election.