Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Mercosur Farce

Brazil discusses with Chavez arrangements for Venezuela’s Mercosur incorporation

Venezuelan President met on Wednesday with a committee from the Brazilian government to discuss mechanisms to speed the full integration of the country to the regional block. Brazil currently holds the Mercosur rotating chair.

“We addressed two main areas, one relative to the whole process of incorporation to Mercosur, inclusion mechanisms which we want to speed to recover lost time”, said Chavez following a meeting in the president Palace of Miraflores with a delegation headed by Alessandro Texeira, Development, Industry and Foreign Trade minister.

Chavez added that the first meetings both in Brazil and Montevideo have been agreed “so that we can continue working in the first issues such as nomenclature, tariffs and Mercosur norms”.

“We are ready to begin the process as soon as the full incorporation of Venezuela is officially confirmed 31 July in Brasilia”.

Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay with the absence of suspended Paraguay, decided at the end of June during a Mercosur summit the full integration of Venezuela, which was pending since 2006 because of the Paraguayan Senate to support the request. It was precisely the absence of suspended Paraguay which opened the way for the controversial and much questioned incorporation.

Chavez said the second issue addressed was referred “to the area of structural development, structural projects for the agro-industrial development and the production of food” and other areas.

“We have detected at least 230 products that can be exported from Venezuela to Brazil and other countries from the block in the near future”.

Nevertheless the Brazilian delegate Minister Texeira said Venezuelan has ahead important considerations such “as adapting to the new economic rules, foreign trade rules, but we have a full year for all the basics to be in place so that Venezuela can join the block and the Venezuelan people can harvest benefits for the economy”.

“For us the incorporation of Venezuela is strategic to strengthen the block and consolidate Latinamerican integration”, added the Brazilian minister who travelled to Caracas with a delegation of experts and the president advisor on foreign affairs, Marco Aurelio Garcia.

Chavez is scheduled to fly next week to Brasilia to attend the meeting in which Venezuela will officially become a full member of Mercosur. Previous to the ceremony he is scheduled to have a private meeting with President Dilma Rousseff and former head of state Lula da Silva.

Among the issues to be addressed according to Brazilian sources are Mercosur “foreign relations” situation. Mercosur has trade agreements with countries such as Israel and Palestine, but Caracas has no formal relations with Israel following the Gaza attacks. Argentine president Cristina Fernandez is a strong lobbyist for Jewish communities in Latin America and ally of Israel.

Similarly with Uruguay which is one of the first countries to vote for the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948.

Furthermore Teheran is a close political and military ally of President Chavez and some members of the Iranian cabinet have pending arrest orders from Argentine Justice for their alleged masterminding of an attack on a Jewish institution back in 1994 which killed dozens and left hundreds injured.

However it is also a fact that even when China is Mercosur member-countries main trade associate, Paraguay does not have diplomatic relations with Beijing and actually recognizes the ‘rebel’ regime of Taiwan.

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