Caracas Opposition Wants Brazil to Accept Venezuela in Mercosur to Rein In Chavez

Hugo Chavez Antonio Lezama, one of Venezuela's main opposition leaders has been invited to address Brazilian Senate committees which are currently considering the long debated controversial incorporation of Venezuela to Mercosur.

The metropolitan mayor of Caracas, Antonio Lezama will most probably address Senators from Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees on October 22 previous to the whole house vote a week later on the Venezuelan Mercosur protocol-adhesion papers.

Lezama is expected to support Venezuela's membership of Mercosur in spite of the fact President Hugo Chavez has described him as a "most dangerous oligarch on the payroll of the empire."

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sent a bill to Congress requesting the admission of Venezuela to Mercosur in March 2007. The Lower House after much debate and clashes between the ruling Workers Party and the opposition finally approved the initiative in December 2008.

However, Lezama in a recent interview with Brazilian daily O Estado de S. Paulo, one of Brazil's most prestigious publications stated that Chavez "could turn out to be more dangerous if left isolated."

The metropolitan Caracas mayor added that "for us, the opposition to Chavez, it is important for him to be incorporated to Mercosur and other international forums that can in some way put limits to his actions. That would be most positive for Venezuelan democracy."

Senator Eduardo Suplicy from the ruling coalition anticipated that Lezama's testimonies before the upper house committees could be "very positive" and helpful in supporting the Venezuelan membership.

The interview to Lezama had a big impact on Brazilian senators where there is a growing opposition to who is considered an "authoritarian" leader on the limits of some "dictatorship practices", and a menace to Mercosur democratic commitment clause, according to another important daily O Globo.

The Foreign Affairs Committee rapporteur on Venezuela's incorporation to Mercosur, opposition Senator Tarso Jereissati has been repeatedly contrary to accepting "President Chavez Venezuela".

The Senate is also under strong lobbying from the main Brazilian conglomerates which are waiting for a favourable vote to move into Venezuela, which has shown interest in projects valued at billions of dollars.

Lawmakers from Argentina and Uruguay have already supported Venezuela's incorporation as full member of Mercosur with the Brazilian and Paraguayan congresses pending approval.



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