The recent end of the year episode of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez with the Colombian cocaine-funded guerrilla FARC and the failed handover of hostages could further imperil the Brazilian Congress approval of Venezuela's incorporation to Mercosur.
Brazilian Deputy Raul Jungmann, member of the Lower House Foreign Affairs committee said that Chavez actions have contributed to deteriorate the image of Venezuela in both chambers of the Brazilian Congress.
"His attitude reinforces the feeling that Chavez is an autocratic and histrionic president", said Congress member Jungmann, who defined the whole incident, which had an unexpected fiasco end, as "self promotion".
The Foreign Affairs and Constitution and Justice committees of the Brazilian Lower House a few months ago approved a project for the incorporation of Venezuela to Mercosur, which triggered much controversy and debate, since some members questioned the "democratic commitment" of President Chavez, an essential requisite for any country wishing to become a member of South America's largest trade group, and enshrined in the Brazilian constitution.
Furthermore Chavez had accused the Brazilian Senate of acting as a "parrot of Washington's orders" and being "a representative for the Brazilian bourgeois," which caused much irritation.
Even Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had to intervene in the incident in defense of the Senate and asking Chavez what he meant by such statements.
This anticipates that the Brazilian approval of Venezuela's entry to Mercosur is going to be long and controversial. It still has to be approved by both houses and in the Senate the Lula administration does not have a majority having recently lost crucial votes on taxing. Anyhow the issue won't be addressed until March, since after Carnaval, in the beginning of February, the Brazilian Congress is closed down.
The opposition also criticized Lula for having sent his main advisor, Marco Aurélio Garcia, as a member of the delegation of international representatives to the failed handover of hostages.