Venezuela Rejects Mercosur Suspension: Foreign Minister

Venezuela rejects Mercosur suspension: foreign minister

CARACAS, Dec 2, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 02nd Dec, 2016 ) - Venezuela on Friday angrily rejected its suspension from the South American economic bloc Mercosur, saying it did not recognize the action taken by the group's four other member states. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay had informed the leftist government in Caracas that it was being suspended for failing to meet democratic and trade standards, a Brazilian government source said Thursday.

"Venezuela does not recognize this null and void action sustained by the Law of the Jungle of some officials who are destroying MERCOSUR," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said on her Twitter account. Although Venezuela joined Mercosur in 2012, the other members complain it has yet to ratify a number of rules governing trade, politics, democracy and human rights. Venezuela's neighbors are becoming increasingly wary of developments in the once-booming oil exporter.

President Nicolas Maduro's opponents blame him for an economic meltdown marked by food shortages, riots and looting in the oil-rich country. Venezuela has been hit hard by the plunge in global prices for its crucial crude oil exports since mid-2014. Although not explicitly linked to the current crisis, Mercosur's move Thursday was the most significant gesture by a foreign entity against Maduro's leadership since tensions deepened this year.

Tensions between Maduro's government and its Mercosur partners were exacerbated with the election of Mauricio Macri as president of Argentina in 2015 and the replacement of Brazil's ousted former president Dilma Rousseff with Michel Temer. Both right-leaning leaders replaced leftist presidents. The founding members of Mercosur took over its rotating presidency in September to block Venezuela from the post. Rodriguez insisted that Venezuela "will continue exercising the legitimate presidency (of Mercosur) and will participate with the right to speak and vote in all the meetings as a State Party.

" She called on the people of the bloc's member countries to oppose what she described as a hijacking of the organization by "intolerant bureaucrats." At the same time, she denied that Venezuela had been notified of the suspension, insisting "that notification doesn't exist." The Brazilian source, who asked not to be identified, had said the notification had not been made public probably because "it has not yet been received" officially in Caracas. The foreign ministers of the other member countries "drew up reports in which they said Venezuela had not fulfilled what was agreed to" and consequently "they sent a communication notifying it that its rights are suspended," the source told AFP.