Despite pressures from the Government’s of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, as well as Hugo Chavez showing up at the Mercosur Summit, the much ballyhooed “political compromise” to allow Venezuela’s full membership in Mercosur, thankfully did not materialize. The political solution was simply to change the rules so that not all countries had to approve the country’s admission as a full member, bypassing in that way this requirement, which implies every single country is satisfied that the democratic standards are complied with by the country requesting admission.
But Paraguay would not play ball, not the Paraguayan opposition that refuses to approve Venezuela’s entry because they don’t believe the country satisfies the democratic requirements, but that country’s Government, likely fearful of the reaction by the opposition if they are bypassed.
Shame on Dilma Rouseff for backing this proposal. The Brazilian President was a victim of abusive Governments, but seems to feel naively they can not come back in her lifetime to haunt her. I hope she is right, but allowing abuses to continue in one country will simply allow all countries in the region to relax the defense of human rights and this will eventually lead to a backlash against those that allowed it.
Meanwhile, Hugo comes back to Caracas (or direct to Havana for treatment during Christmas?) having lost the battle that he decided to play with a full court press, including his physical presence in Montevideo, where he blamed power and obscure forces for the delay in Venezuela’s entry into Mercosur.
A victory for Paraguay, a small country battling giants, something Chavez would have hailed two decades ago.
A victory for Venezuelans, who at least know that Chavez will have to watch what he does to keep the pretense of democracy.
A loss for the leaders of those countries trying to make the defense of human rights more “flexible” , all “left wing” leaders who now that they have attained power have forgotten their fights when others abused their rights. But they will try it again, if Hugo’s health gives them a chance.
But for now: No Mercosur for you, Hugo!