Mercosur members clash over Venezuela presidency

logo-mercosurThe founding members of South American trade block Mercosur are embroiled in a serious controversy entailing the presidency of the group. Mercosur operates on a rotating presidency and at the end of July when Uruguay completed its six-month Mercosur presidency, Venezuela was slated to assume the post.

However, Brazil. Argentina and Paraguay are strenuously challenging the Venezuelan presidency, because they say Venezuela has not complied with 200 rules, regulations and protocols it should have completed to be incorporated into the group, including human rights issues.

The deadline for Venezuela to comply had been August 12. The country has had four years to meet the requirements, according to media reports.

Representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay met on August 4 to try and resolve the issue. Venezuela has gone ahead and proclaimed itself the chair of the group.  Another meeting has been called for August 23.

The Buenos Aires Herald, quoting the State news agency Télam, reported that the Argentine Foreign Ministry had proposed a “collective” chair for the Mercosur, an idea that was welcomed in Brasilia, Montevideo and Asunción. The arrangement would have each member appoint a coordinator in order for the Mercosur to be extricated from its current crisis.