The Mercosur face-to-face presidential summit scheduled for 26th March originally planned to take place in Argentina that currently holds the rotating chair of the block, will be held online because of the sanitary situation in the region.
According to the Argentine foreign ministry, following on instructions from president Alberto Fernandez, the Mercosur 30th anniversary event will be held on line. Hopefully the meeting of presidents and foreign ministers will take place under the right conditions. promoting dialogue and the exchange of ideas between country members.
The face to face meeting was considered a great initiative since it would be the first time the presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez and Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro would meet personally following months of differences and exchange of coarse language. However diplomats on both sides have worked to iron out the situation between the presidents of the leading economies and trade partners of South America.
This however last week did not prevent Alberto Fernandez from praising the Brazilian Justice ruling lifting the several corruption charges against ex president Lula da Silva, and emphasizing charges were nonsense and politically motivated. Be it true or not, Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro criticized the ruling from the Justice dealing with corruption, and recalled that the decision still has to be approved by the rest of the Federal Supreme Tribunal.
The mismanagement of the Brazilian economy and the raft of corruption scandals which surfaced during the presidencies of Lula da Silva and his handpicked successor, Dilma Rousseff, were decisive in the election of extreme right conservative Jair Bolsonaro.
The on line meeting could also impede face to face talks between the leaders of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay regarding a controversial clause, 32/00, which establishes consensus decisions and thus limits Mercosur individual members from reaching agreements with third countries. The option to eliminate is strongly supported by Brazil and Uruguay, but Argentina is not convinced, and Paraguay remains neutral.