Caracas, May 24th 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Argentina’s rightwing Mauricio Macri government and the acting Michel Temer administration of Brazil have agreed to join forces to mediate in Venezuela’s unfolding economic and political crisis, according to statements by Brazil’s acting foreign minister, José Serra.
The Brazilian politician announced the move at a press conference in Buenos Aires on Monday evening, following a meeting with President Macri.
“We’re on alert when it comes to Venezuela,” Serra told press.
The acting foreign minister stated that Venezuela was currently “facing a critical situation” but that both Brazil and Argentina were eager “to find a path toward reconciliation”.
Venezuela is currently struggling to deal with the economic impact of falling oil prices and triple digit inflation, as well as with a tense political standoff between its legislative and executive branches.
Over the last few months, the political opposition to the government, the Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD), has launched proceedings for a recall referendum to remove the president, leaving the country’s political future uncertain.
On Monday, Serra insisted that his administration had a shared “interest” with Argentina in solving the crisis which “includes mediation”.
It was the Brazilian politician’s first official visit since he was named acting foreign minister following the controversial removal of left leaning Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, for an impeachment trial earlier this month, returning Brazil to an acting rightwing government for the first time in over 13 years.
Several administrations across Latin America, including Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia have so far refused to recognise Brazil’s new government, accusing it of participating in a “coup” against Rousseff.
Argentina on the other hand welcomed Temer and officially recognised his administration just hours after the president was removed from office.
But Serra’s first visit to Argentina as foreign minister was marred by protests, as hundreds of Brazilian activists marched to the San Martin Palace in Buenos Aires chanting “fascists” in reference to Macri and the visiting politician.
The unexpected mediation announcement comes on the heels of a UNASUR (Union of the South) delegation’s arrival in Caracas, tasked with mediating in Venezuela’s political impasse.
A number of former heads of state, including Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, José Zapatero of Spain and Martin Torrijos of Panama are also playing a role in the mediations. Spanish politician, Albert Rivera, was also received by figures from the MUD at Venezuela’s international Maiquetia airport earlier on Tuesday.
It is unlikely that the Maduro administration will welcome Serra or his Argentinian counterpart with open arms. The Brazilian politician and President Macri are both longtime MUD allies and have been openly hostile to Venezuela’s current elected government.
Both politicians have previously demanded that Venezuela be suspended from regional trade bloc, MERCOSUR (Common Market of the South), with Serra branding the Maduro administration a "dictatorship".
It is still unclear how the interim foreign minister could act as a mediator in a country where his government is deemed illegitimate.
Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, officially recalled his ambassador to Brazil in the immediate aftermath of Rousseff’s removal.