Members of South America’s trading bloc Mercosur called for an end to violence in Venezuela and a restoration of institutional order in the region (Rio Times, LAHT). Venezuela was suspended from Mercosur last December over human rights concerns (Reuters). In a written statement, official Mercosur members, including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, offered to facilitate dialogue between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leaders (Rio Times). Associate Mercosur members such as Chile and Columbia also signed the statement.
Although the United States had prepared to impose economic sanctions on Venezuela, Mercosur members were hesitant to follow suit (Reuters). Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes claimed that any interference of food shipments from Brazil to Venezuela would “aggravate the humanitarian crisis even more” (Reuters). Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said, “None of us are willing to apply any sanctions that will affect, above all, the Venezuelan people” (Reuters). Still, Argentine President Mauricio Macri had previously warned Venezuela that if it did not change its behavior it could find itself expelled from Mercosur.
Tags: Venezuela, Latin America, South America, Wang, Mercosur