Regional pressure grows to block Venezuelan presidency of Mercosur

Brazil’s interim government moves to postpone the scheduled handover of the presidency of regional trading bloc Mercosur to Venezuela until at least August. It follows similar statements from Paraguay’s government, which has sited Venezuela’s lack of democracy as a major concern. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez responded by calling Brazil’s interim foreign minister a “de facto foreign minister” and accused him of meddling. 

A New York Times editorial says that “The leaders of Mercosur and allied governments can call on Mr. Maduro to take basic steps to avoid further international scorn. These steps might include the immediate release of all political prisoners, allowing the referendum to take place this year and permitting the delivery of humanitarian aid in areas afflicted by shortages of food and medicine. A firm, principled position would benefit the entire hemisphere.”