Mercosur Welcomes Venezuela, Suspends Paraguay

HAVANA TIMES— Mercosur gained a member and suspended another on Friday with Venezuela entering and Paraguay on the out. The ceremony for the new member was announced for July 31 in Rio de Janeiro.

The decision to accept Venezuela as a full member was revealed at the meeting to discuss the status of Paraguay, where an alleged parliamentary “coup” summarily impeached President Fernando Lugo earlier this month.

Mercosur has been comprised by Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay with Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela as associate members.

The suspension of Paraguay is valid until new presidential elections are held and does not include economic sanctions.

“Mercosur will respect the will of the Paraguayan people, in free, democratic elections without banned candidates,” said the host of today’s meeting, Cristina Fernandez.