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News > Latin America

Mercosur Backs Away from Threat to Expel Venezuela

  • Bolivian President Evo Morales

    Bolivian President Evo Morales | Photo: Reuters-La Nacion-Telam

Published 21 July 2017

Bolivia's Evo Morales refused to sign the Mercosur summit's final declaration on Venezuela. 

Contary to expectations, the presidents of the Southern Common Market, Mercosur, have not threatened to expel Venezuela, nor did they explicitly call for the government of President Nicolas Maduro to suspend elections for a Constituent Assembly on July 30.

People's Summit Expresses Support for Venezuela

The Mercosur summit in Mendoza, Argentina, issued a statement which merely called on both the government and the opposition to "not take any initiative that could divide Venezuelan society even more, or aggravate institutional conflicts." The document was signed by the presidents of four full members, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as associate members, Chile, Colombia and Guyana, along with Mexico, which was attending the summit as a guest.

Bolivia, which is in the process of becoming a full member, did not sign. President Evo Morales earlier told the summit that Mercosur should not allow itself to be an accomplice to intervention in Venezuela.

Morales: "Our obligation is to avoid intervention."

"Our obligation as a region is to avoid any foreign intrusion, any intervention," Morales said in his address to the plenary session, accusing the United States of conspiring against Venezuela for economic interests.

"For nobody is it hidden or a secret that behind the political problems of Venezuela is the United States. Behind this blow to Maduro are economic interests that are looking for Venezuelan oil."

On Thursday, as Mercosur foreign ministers met ahead of the presidential summit, the Argentine Foreign Minister, Jorge Faurie, had threatened to apply a democratic clause that could remove Venezuela from the regional organization if it moves forward with its July 30 election of a National Constituent Assembly

“If Maduro maintains the call for a National Constituent Assembly and does not open a channel of dialogue with the opposition sectors to call free and transparent elections, we will apply the Protocol of Ushuaia, the step taken when one of the states has altered the condition of democracy,” Faurie said, Perfil reported.

“Four member states of the regional bloc are willing to implement the Ushuaia protocol,” Faurie added, while admitted that some of the delegates participating in the meeting are not in total agreement.

The Venezuelan flag has been reportedly removed from the presidential plenary session, Infobae reported.

Venezuela is absent from the Mercosur meeting because it considers it illegal.

A statement issued by Caracas on Wednesday said “the ongoing reckless use of a body for integration as a means of political hostility against the government and people of Venezuela is alarming.”

So How Many Did Vote in Venezuela's Opposition Plebiscite?

Prior to the launch of the Mercosur conference earlier this week, social movements held a People's Summit in the city of Mendoza, offering full support for Venezuela’s government. 

“We must keep in mind that what is happening today in the continent, especially in Venezuela, is an imperialist attack that has a fundamental objective to recolonize us, to end our sovereignty and to take possession of all the abundant natural resources with which our countries count on,” Venezuelan Ambassador to Argentina Carlos Eduardo Martinez told supporters.

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