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7 Queries for Mercosur, V: Is Venezuela a sore or a pore?

Out of six years’ accession efforts, Venezuela was accepted as the fifth member country of Mercosur on July 31, 2012.

(Soundbite) Ronnie Lins, Director of Center of China-Brazil Research and Business
“Venezuela is a friendly country going through a very serious situation: the highest inflation rate in the world, there is no electricity, there is no water and food. Yesterday an OAS document came up condemning its government, and this is a long process.”

Argentina was studying whether to back moves at the Organization of American States and Mercosur to censure Venezuela and block it from leadership positions in response to the allegations the socialist government was behaving undemocratically, Reuters reported in June.

(Soundbite) Ronnie Lins, Director of Center of China-Brazil Research and Business
“I hope Venezuela will reorganize the things, because the way things are now is of no use to think about Mercosur or anything else. In any country we must balance politics and economy. When the economy is going bad, politics will too, and vice-versa.”

Argentine cabinet head Marcos Pena told reporters that his government had not changed its position on Maduro’s government and did not rule out supporting a censure.

(Soundbite) Miguel Rodriguez, Legal and Diplomatic Expert of Peru
“A substantial obstacle could be seen, when President Nicolas Maduro didn’t attend the last Mercosur meeting in December 2015, before the appearance of the new president of Argentina Mauricio Macri. Another crisis is now burning in Brazil.”

Reuters also quoted a senior Brazilian official as saying that Brazil might help block Venezuela from taking the rotating presidency of Mercosur for the second half of 2016 in a bid to prevent its president Nicolas Maduro from strengthening his power.

(Soundbite) Miguel Rodriguez, Legal and Diplomatic Expert of Peru
“In this framework of individualities, the blocks are composed of countries with different twists and turns. In the case of Mercosur, where the integration comes first with differences ironed out. But to ideologize Mercosur, there is an obstacle.”

Months and years before, under suspended President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil used to give strong support to Venezuela’s former President Hugo Chavez and his successor Maduro, who took over when Chavez died in 2013.

(Soundbite) Ronnie Lins, Director of Center of China-Brazil Research and Business
“I hope things will get resolved, but I think that Mercosur must be a bloc more focused on the economic aspect, not on politics. Each country has its own political stance. They all have different goals and there will never be a sole politics in the countries in South America.”

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