Brazil to Chavez: Apologize or No Deal!

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim Venezuela may need to apologize to Brazil's Congress if it wants to join Mercosur cautioned Brazil's Foreign Affairs minister Celso Amorim in an interview published Thursday in Brazilian capital BrasÀ­lia.

In May, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blasted the Brazilian Congress for criticizing his decision not to renew the broadcast license of Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, knocking the opposition-aligned station off the air.

Mercosur leaders have approved Venezuela's entry into the bloc, but the deal must still be passed by Brazilian and Paraguayan legislators. The legislatures of Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuelan already have given their approval.

"A goodwill gesture is needed," Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told O Globo newspaper. "No one expects an act of self flagellation from Venezuela, but a positive gesture toward Congress is necessary."

Chavez called Brazil's Congress a "pirate's parrot" of the United States and added: "It would be easier for the Portuguese empire to once again be established in Brazil than for Venezuela's government to return the concession (to RCTV)."

Several Brazilian Senators favor blocking Venezuela's Mercosur entry arguing the country does not comply with a clause calling for Mercosur nations to commit themselves to democracy.

Chavez is visiting Russia and will not attend the Mercosur summit going on right now in Paraguay. The South American trade block will consider his proposal for a regional development bank, "Bank of the South", an alternative source of development funds.

In recent weeks Chavez has criticized "oligarchies" in several Mercosur member countries that are purportedly opposed to Venezuela's entry in the bloc.

Also Thursday, Brazil's Lower House postponed approving two agreements recently signed with Venezuela, saying Chavez's government had shown a "lack of respect" toward the Brazilian Congress."

According to the Brazilian House of Representatives' website, one of the accords prevents double taxation on profits of companies operating in both countries. The other calls for cooperation in communications.

Mercopress

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