In what was his last international activity, outgoing president Mauricio Macri attended the 55th Mercosur leaders summit in Bento Goncalves, southern Brazil, which he described as a special diplomatic occasion for his administration's strive to put Argentina back in the wide world map.
It has been one of the great efforts of my government to integrate Argentina to the world, and 70% of us Argentines believe that an intelligent insertion will help us develop, said Macri in his speech at the summit.
He agreed with the host Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, on the need to open Mercosur economies and lower the common external tariff, and a more efficient block far away from ideology interests.
The summit was also attended by Paraguayan president Mario Abdo Benitez, Uruguay's vice-president Lucia Topolansky (president Tabare Vazquez is too sick to travel) and the foreign ministers from Chile and Bolivia, Teodoro Ribera and Karen Longaric. respectively.
During the meeting Bolsonaro referred to Macri as his friend, congratulated him on the achievements of his administration and chatted extensively with the outgoing Argentine president.
But given that representatives of the incoming governments of Argentina and Uruguay did not attend, the modification of the common external tariff, further opening of the Mercosur economies, and allowing its members to sign agreements with third countries, with no need of the whole block's consensus was left to be addressed and discussed during 2020.
Macri also described the Mercosur/EU trade agreement and the accord with EFTA, as milestones to advance, and to have a positive impact on quality of life for our peoples
Further on the outgoing president praised Chile for the dialogue setup between the political parties and social sectors' representatives, which is an exercise of full democracy and condemned the use of violence and anarchy as not belonging to a democratic nation.
Likewise he called on his successor, Alberto Fernandez to recognize the interim government of Bolivian president Jeanine Áñez, who has promised fresh, fair, transparent elections in 120 days.
Finally he strongly criticized the Venezuelan regime and again called Nicolas Maduro a dictator, warning of the excesses of that administration which have a tremendous impact particularly on neighboring countries with almost five million Venezuelans abandoning their country.
Hopefully we will continue to battle all together so democracy is finally restored in our beloved Venezuela and its people.