Uruguay today reiterated that Venezuela remains a rightful participant of the Mercosur trading bloc, suggesting the Dec. 2 arbitrary decision by Argentina’s, Brazil’s and Paraguay’s right-wing governments to suspend it from the bloc carries no weight.
“Uruguay reiterates its position in regards to Venezuela’s right to continue participating in the various organs and events of the bloc and to have a voice,” a statement from Uruguay's Foreign Ministry read.
After meeting last Monday to discuss the situation, Uruguay’s President Tabare Vazquez and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, agreed to implement the so-called Olive Protocol to help them navigate it and arrive at a consensus.
“We have agreed on a way to channel the solution to the conflict and to resolve it by enacting the Olive Protocol,” Maduro said during a televised broadcast Monday.
In its statement on Tuesday, the Uruguayan government said it was happy to employ what it called a “tool” that will “contribute to building consensus and cooperation within the bloc.” It also applauded Venezuela’s “clear disposition” to adhere to ACE 18, a “juridical instrument” required to consolidate its full membership within the Latin-American trading bloc.
Venezuela was threatened with suspension from the bloc by the right-wing governments that have come into power through parliamentary coups, such as in Brazil, and populist campaigns such as in Argentina and Paraguay. The three of the four founding members pushed for Venezuela’s suspension claiming it had failed to comply with 228 requirements for full membership.
Venezuelan authorities have not only denounced those accusations as “illegal,” but have hit back hard with figures showing their commitment. According to Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, they have fulfilled over 95 percent of requirements — or 1,499 rules — while the other three have barely reached 75 percent of the same goals.
Rodriguez also vowed to attend an upcoming foreign ministers meeting in Buenos Aires to discuss a beginning-of-year action plan, despite Paraguay’s claims that she had not been invited. She then insisted that the Caribbean country would continue to exercise its pro-tempore presidency of the bloc, a position that has traditionally been handed from member to member in alphabetical order.
The move to suspend Venezuela from the trading bloc has been criticized as a political move by the right to curtail the socialist country’s influence in the region.
Venezuela entered the bloc in 2012 when most the countries of Mercosur were led by leftist leaders. However, since then a parliamentary coup in Brazil has tilted the scales in favor of right-wing leaders inside the bloc.
Full members of Mercosur are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, with Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico in different stages of membership.
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