Uruguayan and Venezuelan presidents to meet over Mercosur suspension

Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez informed on 4 December 2016 that he will meet with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro following Venezuela's suspension from the Mercosur trade bloc on 2 December. Maduro requested a face-to-face meeting with Vázquez during a national television and radio address on 3 December, adding that Venezuela does not recognize Mercosur's decision and that Venezuela is still acting as the bloc's rotating president (Panorama). Speaking from Vienna about the suspension, Vázquez noted that in politics and in relations between countries, nothing is irreversible and everything can change (Tal Cual).

Venezuela was formally suspended from Mercosur on 2 December, when the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay sent Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez a communiqué notifying Rodríguez that Venezuela lost its rights as a full member of the bloc after failing to adopt Mercosur regulations by the 1 December deadline (Efecto Cocuyo). Unlike its fellow founding members, the Uruguayan government abstained from the September 2016 vote to enforce a deadline for Venezuela to comply with the bloc's rules (Tal Cual). Uruguay has also taken the position that Venezuela still has a voice in the bloc, but has lost its voting rights (Panorama). By avoiding an outright rejection of Venezuela and by agreeing to hold a meeting between Vázquez and Maduro, Uruguay is poised to affect Venezuela's future in Mercosur as well as its diminished standing within the international community.