Bolivian President Evo Morales welcomed the news of Venezuela taking over the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur, a South American trading bloc, in a series of tweets Saturday in which he branded right-wing opposition to the transfer of power to La Paz's ally "another attack" on the region's economic integration by "instruments of the capitalist system."
The news of Venezuela taking over the leadership of the bloc came after several right-wing governments in the region objected to the transfer of power on the grounds of a “breakdown in democratic order” due to the economic crisis.
But on Friday a press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay announced the end of its pro tempore presidency of Mercosur, and confirmed its transfer of power to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
According to the statement, Uruguay said “there are no legal grounds to prevent the handover of the pro tempore presidency to Venezuela."
"Another attack on the economic integration by instruments of the capitalist system. We salute the Venezuelan pro tempore presidency of Mercosur," wrote Morales on his Twitter account.
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said last week the bloc's handover takes place every six months on an alphabetical order basis, according to Article 12 of the Asuncion Treaty and Article 5 of the Ouro Preto Protocol.
The conflict surrounding the handover is part of a strategy by neoliberal governments to pile international pressure on the Venezuelan government, and also reflects the inner tensions with regard to signing free trade agreements with other blocs.
Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have previously threatened to push for the suspension of Venezuela from the bloc but have since backed down after failing to receive support from other members.
Established in 1991, the Southern Common Market, known as Mercosur, has played an important role in strengthening regional political and cultural integration among South American nations.