The debate over Venezuela’s role in the trade bloc comes as new conservative, market-friendly governments in South America are at odds with Mr. Maduro’s socialist policies and crackdown on opposition dissenters. Mercosur members Brazil and Argentina led a recent effort to block Venezuela from taking its turn as the trade group’s rotating leader.
Mercosur’s full members are are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname are associate countries.
The handwriting has been on the wall for months. Caracas Chronicles:
Barring an unlikely 180-degree turn by either the four founding countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) or the Bolivarian Republic, MERCOSUR will strip the B.R. of V of any voting rights in the organization (it would still have a voice) over its refusal to adopt the group’s legal framework. And neither side is in a mood to back down.
The Foreign Ministers of Uruguay and Paraguay agreed that unless Venezuela changes its mind, the decision reached by the four other members back in September will go forward.
. . .
The impasse in MERCOSUR is not new: since it was admitted to the bloc back in 2012, Venezuela has been a divisive presence in the organization. The country has refused to accept any responsibilities or adapt its institutional framework in anyway while expecting to reap all the benefits.
At the same time, Caracas has tried to shift the group’s trade-centered raison d’etre into a more political one. Venezuela got away with it in part thanks to the loyalty of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Dilma Rousseff, but after the election of Mauricio Macri in Argentina and the long impeachment process in Brazil, Mercosur became a deeply lonely place for the Bolivarian republic.
This step is the right thing to do. I don’t expect that Maduro will change his ways; to the contrary.