Venezuela Invokes MERCOSUR Protocol to Mediate Conflict

Venezuela began the process to implement the Olivos Protocol Monday after MERCOSUR's founding nations suspended it last week for allegedly failing to implement internal agreements.

By Jeanette Charles
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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez (center) has said right-wing governments in the region were trying to stage a coup inside Mercosur. (Photo: Foreign Ministry of Venezuela)
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez (center) has said right-wing governments in the region were trying to stage a coup inside Mercosur. (Photo: Foreign Ministry of Venezuela)

Los Angeles, Dec 7th 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodríguez confirmed Wednesday that her country would invoke the  Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) Olivos Protocol in an attempt to resolve the issue of its recent suspension from the regional bloc.

The “Triple Alliance” constituted by Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have consistently targeted Venezuela, justifying the recent decision to suspend Venezuela “because it failed to implement Mercosur norms”. 

Rodríguez criticized Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina for failing to attend a meeting scheduled Monday to discuss the issue. 

“On Monday we convened, in our condition as pro tempore president, a meeting [to find] a solution for this controversy, attended by Venezuela and Bolivia. The triple alliance did not attend and the illegality [of their actions] is evident. They obviously do not have any intention to solve [these issues], they just want to attack Venezuela and violate MERCOSUR, they do not mind destroying a body founded by them,” emphasized Rodríguez. 

Permanent Representative of Venezuela to Mercosur, José Félix Rivas, began the process to invoke the Olivos Protocol from Montevideo, Uruguay Monday. According to Prensa Latina, Rivas stated that Venezuela turned to the protocol because of "the need to establish a space for negotiation and dialogue, aimed at restoring the legality and institutionality of Mercosur.” 

The Olivos Protocol, named after the Argentine city Olivos, was signed in 2002 and is a conflict resolution mechanism founded to minimize differences among member states. The MERCOSUR Permanent Review Court (TPR) was created as a result of the protocol going into effect. 

Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez stated Sunday that the decision to suspend Venezuela is indeed reversible through applying MERCOSUR agreements and dialogue. Moreover, Vázquez recognized that Venezuela “has the right to activate conflict resolution mechanisms.” He likewise accepted Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s invitation to discuss the issue of MERCOSUR directly. 

During a press conference in Caracas, Rodríguez stressed that the suspension of Venezuela from MERCOSUR would only benefit the triple alliance's mission to approve and implement free trade agreements between the United States and South America. 

“At the same time that these foreign ministers conspired against our country, the US ran to say that they wanted a US-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement,” she said. Rodríguez stated that Venezuela has implemented 95% of MERCOSUR’s agreements, citing that no legal action can be legitimately taken against Venezuela.

“History will show that the triple alliance governments and their foreign ministers have confabulated against Venezuela,” she said. 

Similarly, Rodríguez called for international solidarity with Venezuela during this critical political and economic time. 

“This brutal campaign against Venezuela - what it has done is wake the people, awaken solidarity not only with Venezuela but with the Patria Grande (Great Homeland). Every minute we receive messages of solidarity not only from MERCOSUR countries but also from European countries, from all over the world. There is a movement that says enough with these criminal actions and we must start to respect the norms of the people,” Rodríguez highlighted. 

ALBA social movements representing a wide variety of grassroots struggles across the Americas issued a statement at their Second Continental Summit in Bogotá, Colombia last week. 

The declaration reads, “The popular movements of Our America denounce the current coup against this mechanism of integration and we support the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who has the right to continue in MERCOSUR and to exercise the pro tempore presidency, as established by current law, that Macri, Temer and Cartes attempt to violate by all means.”

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