ALAI, América Latina en Movimiento, 2012-08-05
by Edélcio Vigna, political advisor of the Institute of Social-economic studies (Inesc) of Brazil.
After 31 years, with the entrance of Venezuela, Mercosur has grown. The Brazilian industrial and commercial sector estimates that Mercosur, now with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3,635 billion dollars, will represent 83.2% of the GDP of all of Latin America.
The Paraguayan elites committed a serious political error when they created a parliamentary coup d’état against President Fernando Lugo, whose mandate was to have ended in April of 2013. Stimulated by the most conservative sociopolitical sectors of the country and by the producers of soya and livestock — both accustomed to respect only their own laws – they opened the doors of the Mercado del Cono Sur (Southern Cone Market) to Venezuela.
With their impatience, the elites ended up promoting what they least desired: the presence of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez, as a full member of Mercosur. The government of Paraguay threatens to bring the case to court, but it seems highly unlikely international courts will accept the process.
The elites of the Cono Sur felt threatened by the presence of Chávez. This was evident in the division of the parliamentary benches of Brazil and Uruguay in the Parliament of Mercosur (Parlasur). The worst of the fears of the elites is that after the entrance of Venezuela, there will be a campaign for the admission of Bolivia, which has just expelled Coca-Cola from the country and announced the bankruptcy of McDonald’s.
Itamaraty (the Brazilian foreign ministry) considers that Venezuela will have to adopt the commercial normative of the bloc, which may be delayed by up to four years. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government will take part in all the fora of Mercosur and her parliamentarians will be part of Parlasur.
According to the Brazilian commercial and industrial sector Mercosur, now with a Gross Domestic Product of 3,635 billion dollars, will represent 83,2% of the GDP of all of Latin America, becoming the fifth world economy, Mercosur will increase its participation in the Latin American economy from 70% to 80% in a market of 270 million people (70% of the Continent).
The energy sector will likewise have a jump in production and the bloc could establish itself as a power in the areas of energy and food production.
Independently of the economic advance of Mercosur, there is some preoccupation with respect to the capacity of President Chávez to generate controversy. His figure and his polemical declarations against the United States, which are out of sync with the positions of other members of the bloc, could generate political tensions.
Future problems are not resolved, but one may anticipate them in order to minimize damage.
(Translation from ALAI’s Spanish translation by Jordan Bishop)