Mercosur Enters Gridlock as Key Members Refuse to Acknowledge Venezuelan Leadership
EspañolThough most countries that are a member of Mercosur are against Venezuela taking over the presidency, Nicolás Maduro maintained this week that his country will nonetheless be exercising their mandate to do so “by right.”
“Venezuela will exercise what is rightfully theirs in the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said — a statement that is in direct contradiction to the countries not willing to recognize Venezuela as capable of leading the Southern Common Market, which to date includes Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.
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Venezuela’s Foreign Minister said Monday, August 1 that his country has been in charge of the presidency since last July 30 when the period of Uruguay came to an end.
Rodriguez said refusal to let Venezuela fully assume the mandate of Mercosur is an attempt to revitalize an alleged “condor plan against the Bolivarian Revolution.”
The condor plan was a coordinated system of repression among southern cone dictatorships during the 1970s and 1980s.
Argentina claimed “no country can assume the pro tempore presidency without transfer” and proposed “a coordinators meeting to solve this problem.”
On Monday, Paraguay Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga said his country refused to acknowledge the Venezuelan decision to “self proclaim” itself the president, adding that it will lead Mercosur along with Brazil and Argentina.
Both Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina refused to let Venezuela direct Mercosur because the country faces a serious economic, political and social crisis. They also claimed the nation governed by Nicolas Maduro had breached international agreements and protocols.
Specialist in International Law Mariano de Alba told the newspaper El Nacional:
“What is happening is that there is a conflict in which Venezuela claims it has the presidency. In practice, it’s the country where all meetings of the committees of the organization are made, but if Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil do not send their representatives to Caracas, Mercosur can not work because there is a rule that all decisions must be made by consensus and with the presence of all parties.”
De Alba said the most likely scenario that will result from this crisis is a paralysis of the trade bloc, which will make it lose relevance in a key moment that sees Mercosur trying to advance free trade negotiations with the European Union.