Brazil Washes Its Hands on Dispute Between Venezuela and Neighbors

Brazil’s special presidential adviser on international affairs, Marco Aurélio Garcia, declared last night, April 25, that Brazil should not get involved in the dispute between Venezuela, on the one side, and Colombia and Peru, on the other.

The crisis was precipitated by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez’s threat to withdraw his country from the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) in protest against Colombia and Peru’s having signed free trade agreements with the United States. The CAN is composed of Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador.

"Peru and Colombia took these decisions [to enter into bilateral agreements with the United States] as sovereign countries with legitimate governments. So we are not going to be the ones to tell Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, and Venezuela what to do. Each country knows exactly [what it wants] and has the means to decide," Garcia commented.

Yesterday afternoon, at a meeting in Brasí­lia with President Lula, the Colombian President, ílvaro Uribe, asked Brazil to intercede in the CAN crisis on Colombia’s behalf.

Garcia spoke with reporters last night moments before a meeting in São Paulo between Lula and the Argentinean President, Néstor Kirchner. Their agenda included trade disputes among the Mercosur countries and energy issues, chiefly electric power exchanges between Brazil and Argentina.

Today, April 26, Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader, is scheduled to arrive in São Paulo for a meeting with Lula and Kirchner. The presidents are expected to discuss the CAN crisis and the construction of a gas pipeline linking the three countries.

Agência Brasil

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