Mercosur announced admission of Venezuela as a full member end of July
Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay made official on Friday the temporary suspension of Paraguay from Mercosur, because of the ‘summary’ removal of President Fernando Lugo and at the same time announced Venezuela will be incorporated to the group on July 31 at a meeting in Rio do Janeiro.
Presidents Cristina Fernandez, Dilma Rousseff and Jose Mujica meeting at the twice a year Mercosur summit in Mendoza, Argentina, confirmed that no economic sanctions will be imposed on the new Paraguayan administration of President Federico Franco, who replaced Lugo after the Paraguayan congress voted to impeach him.
The incorporation of Venezuela has been stalled since the original request in 2006 blocked by the same Paraguayan congress that impeached Lugo and had him replaced by Vice-president Franco.
The conservative Paraguayan Senate challenged all attempts from Lugo and pressures from neighbouring countries to have Venezuela incorporated, but they consistently argued that “no way” is the Venezuela of President Hugo Chavez going to join the block: “with him out of the picture, it will be different; Chavez does not believe in democracy: he gags the press, persecutes political adversaries and promotes subversive movements”.
Reading the conclusions of the ‘limited’ Mercosur summit, Cristina Fernandez proposed that Unasur, Union of South American Nations should name a special committee to follow the Paraguayan process.
“Economic sanctions always end as a burden for the people, never governments. None of our peoples can be exposed to sufferings from decisions from a sector of their leadership”, said the Argentine president. Paraguay was suspended from the block until the coming elections to be held 23 April next year.
“According to the protocol agreed by Mercosur, a full democracy is essential condition for the process of integration. The reestablishment of full democratic institutions is what the protocol demands” insisted Cristina Fernandez.
Later in a brief ceremony the head of state transferred the Mercosur chair for the next six months to Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff who pledged to continue efforts for the advance of regional integration.
Following the Mercosur mini summit, Unasur presidents were scheduled to hold an emergency meeting to address the Paraguayan situation. Other heads of state in Mendoza included Ecuador’s Rafael Correa; Bolivia’s Evo Morales; Peru’s Ollanta Humala, Chile’s Sebastian Piñera and Foreign minister Nicolas Maduro replaced Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
“What we are dealing with here is whether we are capable of safeguarding legality and legitimacy and avoid these regional thinly veiled coups which do not fully develop to be dictatorships but under a certain veneer are a breakdown of the constitutional order,” the Argentine President assured.
She recalled the overthrow attempts of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and highlighted the absolute rejection the Mercosur and Unasur blocs showed at the time.
“These administrations have implemented inclusion policies to improve the life of millions of citizens who could not even access basic services. These decisions have a quality. Unasur does not group heads of state who share the same opinion in every aspect, but the positive aspect is that when facing situations regarding the breakdown of democratic order all of the Presidents have reacted by unanimously rejecting them,” she added.
Paraphrasing Jorge Luis Borges the Argentine poet, Cristina Fernandez said that love might not unite us, but certainly fear and horror. She pledged that Mercosur and Unasur ”will accept Paraguayan people’s will regardless of the outcome of the 2013 presidential elections in that country”.