According to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry website, upon arrival in Uruguay, Rodríguez held a meeting with Senators, Deputies and trade union representatives of the country’s ruling Broad Front party, led by President Tabaré Vázquez.
During the encounter, she warned that right-wing forces in Latin America are using Mercosur as a pretext to wage a political campaign against Venezuela and also rebuked concerns raised by Brazilian Foreign Minister, José Serra, over the decision to entrust the bloc’s pro temper presidency to Venezuela.
According to Telesur, Venezuela assumed the position on July 1, however the process was stalled following a petition made by Serra on July 5 to have the country’s rotating presidency postponed until at least August, as reported by Alba Movimientos.
According to AVN, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister stated, “We know that the former representative of Operation Condor (Serra) is leading this attack against Venezuela in the very heart of Mercosur, but we reaffirm Venezuela’s rights, in accordance with founding agreements of the mechanism established in 1991, to assume the pro temper presidency.
“We thank the entire Uruguayan people and President Tabaré Vásquez for the solidarity they have shown toward Venezuela. We bring a message of solidarity and gratitude from President Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan people, defenders of the historic memory of our peoples,” added Rodríguez.
She also thanked the Uruguayan government for its firm position in support of Venezuela’s right to head Mercosur over the second half of the year, as established by the bloc’s statues.
In a press conference held at the end of June, Vázquez stated that “nothing has changed,” noting that the country will assume its position at the end of July.
Mercosur is a sub-regional organization composed of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay (currently suspended after violating the Ushuaia Protocol on Democratic Commitment), Uruguay, Venezuela and Bolivia; with associated member states Chile, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. The bloc was created on March 26, 1991 under the Treaty of Asuncion.
The agreement establishes the free movement of goods, services, and production between countries; a common external tariff and the adoption of a common trade policy; the co-ordination of macroeconomic and sectoral policies between the member states, and a commitment by parties to harmonize their legislation in the relevant areas in order to strengthen the integration process.
Currently, Mercosur also permits the free movement of citizens of state parties between member countries. The organization’s official languages are Spanish, Guaraní and Portuguese.