Mercosur on Wednesday displayed another chapter of its internal disarray, almost farcical, when Venezuela which proclaims the presidency of the group convened a meeting at the Montevideo administrative offices that was only attended by full member Uruguay and aspiring member Bolivia.
The remaining three full members, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay ignored the call exposing the deep fracture in the group founded in 1991 and which in 2012 incorporated Venezuela.
Venezuela convened the meeting a day after coordinators from the four full members held a full day round of talks, also in Montevideo, when it was confirmed that the Caracas government has yet to comply with rulings and procedures agreed in 2012 when its incorporation, and thus is not entitled to the presidency of the group.
Furthermore the Paraguayan coordinator admitted Mercosur was going through an emergency situation, with a limited agenda of activities for the rest of 2016, until Argentina, according to alphabetical order, will be holding the pro tempore rotating presidency of the group, during the first six-months of 2017.
Argentina is known to sponsor a collective administration of Mercosur until 2017, while Brazil and Paraguay do not accept under any circumstances the Venezuela presidency since they question the democratic credentials of president Maduro's regime which holds political prisoners, is intent in closing the Legislative and has ordered the sacking of all government staff that voted for a recall referendum to remove the president.
There's no way Venezuela will be holding the Mercosur presidency, you can count on that was the comment from Brazil's foreign minister Jose Serra who described the Maduro presidency as an authoritarian non democratic regime.
Uruguay has been the only country to attend both meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, and somehow triggered the current situation when on 29 July, contrary to an appeal from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, devolved the six-month presidency arguing its time was over and there were no legal impediments for Venezuela to hold the chair.
Venezuela convened the Wednesday meeting appealing to the fact it was in full exercise of the Mercosur pro tempore presidency.
Later on Wednesday the deputy foreign minister from Paraguay Rigoberto Gauto, reiterated that Mercosur actions are coordinated by diplomatic representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.