The differences between President Alberto Fernández and his Uruguayan counterpart, Luis Lacalle Pou, regarding the crisis in Venezuela were once again exposed at the LXII Summit of Mercosur Heads of State, held in Misiones, in which it was decided to move forward in negotiations with the European Union (EU).
When speaking, Lacalle Pou demanded that his peers from the regional bloc “raise their voices” to condemn the disqualification of the Venezuelan opposition member María Corina Machado. “Mercosur has to give a clear signal so that the Venezuelan people can go towards a full democracy, which clearly does not have it,” she demanded.
“Everyone here knows what we think about the Venezuelan regime. You have to try to be objective. It is clear that Venezuela is not going to emerge as a healthy democracy if, when there is a hint of the possibility of elections, a candidate like María Corina Machado, who has enormous potential, is disqualified for political and not legal reasons,” Lacalle Pou remarked. .
Namely, Machado, registered to participate in the primaries next October in Venezuela, prior to the 2024 presidential elections, was recently disqualified from competing for a popularly elected position for 15 years.
The Uruguayan president thus supported the expressions previously made by his Paraguayan counterpart, Mario Abdo Benítez, who expressed concern about the situation in Venezuela. “I have always sought to give a voice to the suffering Venezuelan people. And this time will not be the exception. Consistency cannot be left out at the last minute. When a way out appears, an itinerary of hope for holding elections with the opposition, we quickly saw that illusion extinguished with the disqualification of Maria Corina Machado ”, he lamented.
“This is a fact that clashes head-on and scandalously with the clear letter of human rights,” Abdo Benítez completed.
President Fernández listened to the proposals of the presidents of Uruguay and Paraguay, and went out to ratify his position: “The problem in Venezuela must be solved by the Venezuelans, through dialogue between them. Not countries meddling in internal issues of other countries. Yes, guaranteeing, as President Abdo has rightly said, that he is respecting the institutional framework and human rights, but the best way to do it is by recovering the dialogue between Venezuelans ”.
“What has happened, now, with María Corina Machado is something that we take into account and that we are raising at the dialogue table, which is where we believe it should be raised,” said Fernández after considering the efforts with the Organization of the United Nations to guarantee dialogue and the validity of human rights in Venezuela.
Fernández then proceeded to hand over the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur to the Brazilian Luiz Inácio “Lula” Da Silva, with whom he promotes the return of Venezuela to the regional bloc. The summit ended with “the commitment to move towards the prompt signing” of the agreement with the EU, which has been negotiated for almost a quarter of a century.
This was stated in a joint statement that Uruguay did not sign as a form of protest against the lack of openness of the group to be able to negotiate “autonomously” with third countries.
Fernández and Lula were the ones who raised objections about the agreement with the European bloc. In this context, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay have already presented their “counterproposals”, but Brazil is missing, which has asked for more time to present its observations.
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