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  • General view of the summit of heads of state Mercosur and associated states, in Luque, Paraguay, December 20, 2015.

    General view of the summit of heads of state Mercosur and associated states, in Luque, Paraguay, December 20, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 December 2015
Opinion

This is the bloc’s first meeting since Argentina and Venezuela’s recent elections, which saw right-wing victories for the first time in years.

Paraguay held the Summit of Heads of State of the Southern Common Market or Mercosur, Monday. Among the issues that were addressed by the regional bloc were trade, human rights, E.U. negotiations, Pacific Alliance and also energy integration.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez urged nations to strengthen the bloc’s economy and local currencies, beyond supporting foreign measures that harm developing countries.

President Nicolas Maduro was not able to attend the meeting due to “internal matters,” Rodriguez said, also highlighting the achievements made by Venezuela within the sub-regional bloc, especially on social and human rights issues.

"We are proud to be South Americans," she said, insisting that Latin American integration has allowed the region to emerge from the global crisis.

ANALYSIS: Mercosur, Paving the Way for Latin American Integration

Meanwhile, in his speech Bolivian President Evo Morales stressed the need to continue to work toward further regional integration, without forgetting the importance of environmental problems.

This is the bloc’s first meeting since Argentina and Venezuela’s recent elections, which could result in a shift in the blocs dynamics as most countries involved have historically been left-leaning democratic governments with close ties to Venezuela.

Mauricio Macri, the newly sworn-in president of Argentina, demanded the release of those he describes as “political prisoners” in Venezuela. He also commented on the recent parliamentary elections in Venezuela, branding the right-wing victory a “step forward” and praising the Maduro government for accepting the results.

The pro tempore chair of the block was passed to Uruguay and the draft document elaborated by each country’s delegation was approved by heads of state who will implement it over the coming year.

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