Uruguay Wants Mexico in the Mercosur to Offset Brazil

Mexican President, Vicente, Fox has been invited to participate in the Montevideo December Mercosur summit but there’s no official confirmation of his presence, revealed Mexican Ambassador in Uruguay, Perla Carvalho.

During the coming summit Venezuela is scheduled to become a full member of Mercosur and President Hugo Chavez has confirmed his participation. Uruguayan Foreign Affairs Minister Reynaldo Gargano said that President Tabare Vazquez had extended the invitation to President Fox during the recent Summit of the Americas, which was held in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

However it was during that summit that Mexico and Venezuela had loud discrepancies over the US sponsored Free Trade Areas of the Americas, which led to irritating remarks from both sides, particularly President Chavez who called his Mexican counterpart a "US puppy" doing the dirty job for the empire.

As a result both governments recalled their ambassadors and Mexico went further accusing Venezuela of harboring the drug trade particularly with the Mexican cartels.

The idea of having Mexico join Mercosur is not new and had been considered some time ago when Mexican Foreign Affairs minister Luis Ernesto Derbez visited the region.

Mr. Gargano said that the full incorporation of Venezuela to Mercosur had received a "positive reply" from Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina that "is handling all the documentation on the matter".

"Venezuela will therefore, following the unanimous political support, become immediately a full member of Mercosur", underlined Mr. Gargano.

President Vazquez during a meeting with opposition Senators said Uruguay’s strategy was to bring Mexico and Venezuela together again, and insist in the incorporation of Mexico, Latinamerica leading economy.

"We need Mexico in Mercosur to counterbalance Brazil, and even oil rich Venezuela", argued Mr. Vázquez.

Uruguay’s main opposition party has reserves about Venezuela’s incorporation given President Hugo Chavez "confrontation policy" and the fact that the country already is member of the Andean Community.

"It’s an incorporation that could stimulate bilateralism among Mercosur major countries", said Senator Jorge Larrañaga, leader of the National Party.

Mr. Gargano said Mercosur would do "every thing possible so that this situation (between Mexico and Venezuela) rapidly dilutes with time and cordial relations are re-established between the two countries".

"We’re very much interested in having no disputes in the region and that neighbors get along", he insisted adding that there’s no mediation planned…or discarded".

As to attempting to bridge the delicate situation between Mexico and Venezuela, the Montevideo press recalled that Mr. Gargano was not precisely the man with the best credentials for the task.

A few months ago when Mercosur managed to impose, in a much contested assembly, the Chilean candidate Miguel Insulza as Secretary General of the Organization of American States, OAS, defeating Mexican hopeful Mr. Debez, Mr. Gargano during a conference in the National University hailed Mercosur unity saying "in spite of all the pressure, we managed to defeat the empire’s candidate".

The "empire’s candidate" was obviously Mr. Derbez from Mexico.

This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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