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Lula and Chavez Celebrate in Caracas Brazil Senate’s Vote for Venezuela

Chavez and Lula In a divided vote, Brazil's Senate foreign relations committee approved this Thursday, October 29, Venezuela's request to join Mercosur despite concerns over President Hugo Chavez's authoritarian style of government. The vote comes when Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva flies to Caracas to sign huge contracts for Brazilian corporations.

Following a heated debate the committee voted 12 to 5 in favor of Venezuela joining South America's main trade block started 18 years ago. The proposal must now go to the floor of Brazil's full Senate, and Paraguay's parliament must also approve before Venezuela can join.

At stake are tens of billions of dollars in trade and investment with the oil-rich nation and potentially affecting Venezuela's geopolitical ties to the region. Denying Venezuela membership could isolate Chavez from South America's major democracies and push him to deepen ties with distant allies such as Iran, Russia, and China, analysts summoned to the committee have repeatedly stated.

President Lula, who traveled to Caracas this Thursday, lobbied hard for Venezuela joining the group that is made up of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay with Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia as associate members.

Opposition senators who voted against the proposal said Venezuela did not comply with Mercosur's democratic principles because Chavez did not respect constitutional rights of opposition politicians and suppressed the media.

Some analysts have also cautioned that Venezuela's eclectic economic policy, which includes the nationalization of several industries, could further undermine the unity of Mercosur and hamper potential trade negotiations with the European Union and other groups.

"Chavez is rapidly marching toward dictatorship. We are burying Mercosur," said Senator Arthur Virgilio of the opposition PSDB party.

Brazil has a trade surplus of around US$ 5 billion a year with Venezuela, with Brazilian contractors holding US$ 20 billion worth of orders for public works projects including the building of Caracas underground.

"I admit Venezuela has problems, internal disputes, but the solution is not isolation," said Romero Jucá, government leader in the Senate.

Opposition Senator Tasso Jereissati, the rapporteur of the committee, had recommended keeping Venezuela out of the trade bloc, in a report that harshly criticized the alleged "authoritarian character" of President Chavez.

During the debate, the opposition reiterated its rejection of Venezuela's entry into Mercosur, due to the alleged "lack of freedom" in the South American country, which they described as "violations of the democratic clause" that is in force in the bloc.

Mercopress

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  • Show Comments (10)

  • ch.c.

    That’s damn right !
    [quote]NEVER EVER TRUST A BRAZILIAN IS EVEN MORE TRUE TODAY THAN IN THE PAST ![/quote]

    You are damn right Laura !!!! NEVER EVEN TRUST BRAZILIANS ESPECIALLY THE MEN, NEVER EVER HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM !!!!!

    THAT’S THE TRUTH !!!!

  • Laura

    to all Venezuelians critics !
    May I just remind you ALL how you were in love, at the time there was this mega project for a pipeline ????
    ALL OF YOU LOVED CHAVEZ then !
    Later you ALL turned your back to him, curiously exactly at the time of your Tupi fields discoveries !

    Just scroll not only the news on this site but also the comments made then by some of YOU !

    Real fun how you change your mind.,…depending of how much money and business you may make or benefit !
    This mega pipeline was obviously supposed to be financed by….CHAVEZ, not Robbing Hook !

    What a short memory, ALL OF YOU HAVE and….ON PURPOSE !

    SAD TRUTH !
    Just scroll and you will realize…..YOUR OWN STATEMENTS and comments…..!

    NEVER EVER TRUST A BRAZILIAN IS EVEN MORE TRUE TODAY THAN IN THE PAST !

  • asp

    i dont have a problem with venezuela in the mercosul….
    as long as people see through chaves’s bullshit….the smell of his spore is a big long trail of horseshit…

    no need to ban him, shun him , invade him , or kill him, but, see through his bullshit and call him on it…..now that is what is very hard for people to do…call him on his bullshit…

    venezuela will be around a lot longer than chavez…meanwhile,the opisition better learn a way to apeal to the people if they want to win…if they can get through all the cencsored media what with all the radios and tv stations closed down

  • The Guest

    The Brasilian senators who voted in favor are right. “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”
    Brasilians should learn from the mistakes of the US and its isolationist policies. Diplomacy and engagement is the key. Brasil has one of the world’s best diplomatic corp, now it is time for them to go to work.

  • Mickinrio

    Unfortunately dictators have a habit of putting others on THEIR leashes. Be careful of what you wish for. Chavez is a troublemaker and Brazil should be shaping a democratic South America not encouraging chaos. Mercosur will lose credibility – Chavez will try to influence Brazilian foreign policy and one day we might have the pleasure of being ruled by a similar hero – right here in Brazil. How nice!

  • flyingnuts

    keeping mad dogs on a leash…
    i agree with sage…..chavez is strategically in-consequent not venezuela and, it’s always preferable to have mad dogs on a (mercosur) leash than running freely in the neighborhood’s backyards…

  • sage

    mickinrio
    this is excellent news. from a geopolitical standpoint, it is in brazil’s strategic interest to have venezuela in mercosul.
    another incremental step to consolidating the continent. states tend to outlast their leaders – good or bad!

    off course this is too much intellectual rigor for most of the bird brains that comment on this site.

  • João da Silva

    A CORRECTION:

    [quote]Even the national newspapers have written any reports explaining his 180 degree turn.[/quote]

    Should read:” Even the national newspapers have [b][i]not[/i][/b] written any reports explaining his 180 degree turn.”

  • João da Silva

    I wonder why the President of our Senate changed his mind. Even the national newspapers have written any reports explaining his 180 degree turn. 😮

    I guess the senate knows what is good for the Brasilian people and took this wise decision. 😀

  • Mickinrio

    Chavez is a dictator!!!
    “Chavez is rapidly marching toward dictatorship” ..WHAT??? Chavez IS a dictator and Venezuela IS a dictatorship. Shame on Lula for encouraging this clown. But money is more important than principles for the greedy politicians.More trade – more deals – more money for the crooks to put in their pockets.

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