Venezuela formally joins Mercosur trading bloc

South American leaders wave as they pose during the official photo shoot at the annual summit of the Mercosur trade bloc in Mendoza, Argentina, June 29, 2012.

Venezuela has become a full member of the Mercosur regional trading bloc following a six-year-long delay.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is now set to take part in a ceremony in Brasilia, which celebrates Caracas’ membership in the South American trade bloc.

The visit to Brasilia will be Chavez’s first official trip abroad in a year after his being diagnosed with cancer in June 2011 and his treatment process in Cuba.

Mercosur is an economic union and political agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay founded in 1991. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency. 

The bloc’s combined market encompasses more than 250 million people and accounts for more than three-quarters of the economic activity on the continent, or a combined GDP of USD 1.1 trillion.

Although the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay had approved Venezuela’s admission into the bloc in 2006, the accession was delayed pending ratification by the Paraguayan congress.

This is while Paraguay has recently been suspended from the group over the controversial dismissal of President Fernando Lugo.

The lower house of the Paraguayan congress impeached Lugo on June 21. The senate opened his trial a day later and quickly reached a guilty verdict, ousting the president.

Mercosur’s leaders did not impose economic sanctions on Paraguay, but banned Paraguayan officials from participating in the bloc’s meetings.

Paraguay’s suspension created an opportunity for Venezuela to be incorporated into the bloc since the opposition in the Paraguayan congress was the only obstacle to Caracas’ membership.

Source: Press TV




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