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Brazil Considers Blocking Venezuela from Mercosur Presidency: Source | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a rally with pro-government members of the public transport sector in Caracas, Venezuela May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

The Brazilian government will possibly help block Venezuela from taking the rotating presidency of the Mercosur trade group this month, which will help to prevent beleaguered Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro from firming his hold on power.

However, such move has yet to be decided since it has not been discussed with other members of Mercosur, according to a statement by an aide to Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer.

The possible move against Venezuela would further pivot Brazil’s foreign policy to the right under Temer, with Temer’s Foreign Minister, Jose Serra, stating that he wants to focus Brazil’s foreign policy more on trade with the United States and the European Union.

Serra also seeks to see Brazil freed from the Mercosur rule banning members from signing bilateral trade deals unless all members agree, because the rule interrupts Temer government’s effort to open up Brazil’s economy.

Brazil could try to block Venezuela from taking over the Mercosur presidency in 2 ways, said the presidential aide.

For instance, Brazil could work to cancel or delay the meeting this month, which would temporarily keep Uruguay at the head of the trade bloc. Or it could try to win the votes of other members to suspend Venezuela from Mercosur.

On the other hand, Venezuela’s critics say that is clearly happening as Maduro has threatened to suspend the National Assembly as the opposition calls for a recall referendum on his presidency.

Paraguay last week asked for an emergency Mercosur meeting, scheduled for next week, to discuss the political situation in Venezuela and consider a possible suspension.