Bolivia closer to Mercosur full membership

Bolivia is closer to becoming a full member of Mercosur following on Argentina's ratification of the Adhesion Protocol.

The landlocked country incorporation was decided in December 2012, but since Paraguay at the time had been suspended from Mercosur and all decisions are on consensus, at the next summit in Brasilia a new protocol has been drafted which will have Asuncion's support.

The ceremony took place at Paraguay's Foreign ministry and was attended by deputy minister for integration, Rigoberto Gauto and Argentine ambassador Ana María Corradi who signed the document “Ratification Instrument” referred to Bolivia's Adhesion Protocol to Mercosur, which was formalized in Brasilia on 7 December 2012.

However last April the (Mercosur) Common Market Group, currently under the chair of Brazil reached a consensus establishing that Paraguay signs a protocol in the coming Mercosur summit. For the Paraguayan government the current Bolivian adhesion protocol is incomplete ('illegal') since it was agreed while the country was suspended from the group.

During the April meeting it was agreed that the Bolivian incorporation is to be ratified with a new protocol in which Paraguay figures as Mercosur full member, leaving aside the suspension incident.

The rest of Mercosur full members (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela) wanted the protocol to be considered fully valid since it had already been approved by the legislatives from Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela. However it is still under consideration by the Brazilian congress and the Paraguayan legislative has yet to receive a copy of the new draft.

Paraguay was suspended from Mercosur in 2012 because of the removal, following political impeachment, of then elected president Fernando Lugo. The rest of Mercosur members described the political action as a 'legislative coup' and suspended Paraguay from the group until new elections were held.

Lugo, a former 'leftish' Catholic bishop was politically very close to Venezuela's Chavez; Lula da Silva's from Brazil; Cristina Fernandez from Argentina and Uruguay's Jose Mujica who at the time justified the decision arguing that on occasions “the political must prevail over the juridical”.

When Paraguay normalized its situation with new elections and a new government, it insisted that the Bolivia adhesion protocol was not valid until it was signed by Asuncion and figuring as a full member.

Merco Press

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