Mercosur

Mercosur coordinators meet in Montevideo over Venezuela impasse

Representatives from Mercosur are set to meet in Montevideo on 16 December 2016 to discuss Venezuela's invocation of the Olivos Protocol, a conflict resolution mechanism, as Venezuela refuses to accept its 2 December suspension from the bloc. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez stated on 15 December that Venezuela does not recognize the 14 December handover of the Mercosur rotating presidency to Argentina, and claimed she was physically assaulted upon arrival at the Argentine Foreign Ministry on 14 December to attend a summit to which Venezuela was not invited (Tal Cual). Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa weighed in on the incident and said that entering the Ministry by force was a serious action from a diplomatic perspective (Globovisión). Nin Novoa confirmed Venezuela is suspended from Mercosur and stated Venezuela had four years to incorporate 1,159 Mercosur regulations, but still has 200 rules left to adopt into Venezuelan law (Panorama). 

Argentina assumes Mercosur presidency despite objections from Venezuela

During a Summit in Buenos Aires on 14 December 2016, Argentina assumed the rotating presidency of Mercosur despite objections from Venezuela, which was suspended from the bloc on 2 December but refuses to recognize Mercosur's decision. Although Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga stated on 13 December that Venezuela was not invited to the Mercosur summit, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez arrived at Argentina's Foreign Ministry, accompanied by Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca (Tal Cual). Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra stated during a press conference that she met with Rodríguez, Choquehuanca, and Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa before the Mercosur Summit (Panorama). Malcorra reiterated that Venezuela has not adopted over 200 regulations required to become a full member of Mercosur, but noted she and Rodríguez will meet again on 15 December to hold a dialogue over Venezuela's relationship with the bloc (Globovisión). 

Argentina: Venezuela does not show signs of resuming dialogue with Mercosur

Argentina's Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers Marcos Peña stated on 7 December 2016 that Venezuela has not shown signs of being able to resume a dialogue with Mercosur to revoke its 2 December suspension from the trade bloc (Globovisión). Peña stressed the importance of the dialogue between the Maduro administration and the opposition, and said once the country resolves its internal problems, Mercosur can resume talks with Venezuela (La Patilla). During a press conference on 7 December, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez asserted Venezuela is still a member of Mercosur and added Venezuela is acting as the bloc's rotating president. Rodríguez denounced attacks against Venezuela from what she has dubbed the Triple Alliance, or the governments of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina (Panorama).

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.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister calls for protests at embassies over Mercosur impasse

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez on 28 November 2016 called on residents of Mercosur member nations to protest in front of their local Venezuelan embassies on 1 December to express support for Venezuela in its impasse with the trade bloc. Speaking at the eleventh Mercosur Social Summit in Caracas, Rodríguez stated that Venezuela will not leave Mercosur and will not be suspended from the organization, despite warnings from the Uruguayan and Paraguayan foreign ministers that Venezuela will not make the 1 December deadline for adopting over 300 Mercosur membership requirements (Efecto Cocuyo). Although Mercosur founding members Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay agreed to take over the bloc's leadership in September 2016, Venezuela insists it is the temporary president of Mercosur. Rodríguez denounced a "triple alliance" of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay for its political intolerance and campaign against Venezuela (Tal Cual).

Uruguay: Venezuela to lose Mercosur voting rights

Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa stated on 18 November 2016 that on 1 December, Venezuela will lose its voting rights in Mercosur, as it has not adopted all of the trade bloc's regulations. Nin Novoa added that for Uruguay, this does not mean Venezuela faces expulsion from the bloc (Globovisión). However, Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga stated on 21 November that Venezuela will be suspended from Mercosur on 1 December, and will remain so until it adopts the rules required to be an associate member of Mercosur (La Patilla). Mercosur's founding members Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay agreed on 13 September that Venezuela could not serve as the bloc's rotating president and gave Venezuela until 1 December to ratify over 300 rules and regulations to maintain its membership. Loizaga added the bloc's founding members will meet in Montevideo on 22 November to analyze the situation in Venezuela (Efecto Cocuyo).

Venezuelan Foreign Ministry denounces Mercosur meeting as illegal

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 27 October 2016 denouncing a Mercosur meeting in Cartagena, Colombia as illegal. According to Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga, the foreign ministers from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil met on the sidelines of the 25th Ibero-American Summit to analyze the situation in Venezuela and discussed applying Mercosur's democratic clause, the Ushuaia Protocol, against Venezuela (Globovisión). In response, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry stated the meeting was illegal and any results of the meeting would be null and void, as Venezuela is acting as the temporary president of Mercosur, and only Venezuela can convene a meeting of the bloc (Panorama). The four founding members of Mercosur have been jointly carrying out the leadership of the bloc since ruling on 13 September that Venezuela could not serve as president, as it has not adopted all of Mercosur's regulations (Efecto Cocuyo).

Paraguay denies crisis in Mercosur over Venezuela

Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga stated on 17 October 2016 there is no crisis in Mercosur over Venezuela. Loizaga reiterated Venezuela is not acting as Mercosur's rotating president, despite statements to the contrary from the Venezuelan government (Globovisión). The Foreign Minister stated in September 2016, the four founding members of Mercosur determined Venezuela could not act as president because the country had not adopted all of Mercosur's rules and noted Venezuela has until 1 December to comply with Mercosur regulations or face possible suspension (La Patilla). Loizaga stated founding members Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil are pushing ahead with negotiations over a trade deal with the European Union (EU) without Venezuela, which is an associate member of Mercosur and was not involved in the initial stages of the trade talks (La Patilla).