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President Maduro Advocates Opening Mercosur to Consolidate Regional Economic Block

"We are truly convinced that the consolidation of Mercosur lies in its expansion," said President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday during the closing events of a meeting in Venezuela’s capital city of Caracas among foreign ministers and ministers of the economy, finance and trade from member countries of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur).

He advocated for a broadened and consolidated regional organization "with a powerful and dynamic economic trade zone for investment,” characterized by strategic associations in vital areas such as energy, communications, and food production.

President Maduro announced that the next summit of heads of state of Mercosur countries will be held in Venezuela in December.

He and Foreign Minister Elías Jaua received several diplomats at the headquarters of Venezuela's Foreign Ministry in downtown Caracas, including Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, Uruguay and Foreign Minister Luis Almagro, Brazilian Foreign Minister Alberto Figueiredo, and the ambassador of Ecuador in Venezuela, Leonardo Arizaga.

The meeting allowed the leaders to begin dialogues with representatives from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (Alba), Petrocaribe and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to consolidate a complementary economic zone.

"We are sure that a new dynamic is going to move us toward strengthening the Americas as a powerful economic block," Maduro said, recalling that Venezuela's entrance into the block as a full member alongside Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay was possible thanks to "the perseverance and the obsession to create of a man like Hugo Chávez.”

After six years of complying to Mercosur's membership protocol, Venezuela was formally admitted into the group on July 31, 2012.

Meanwhile, Maduro said that the rise of the five emerging nations of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is "a great expression of the hope of the 21st century in regard to forging a new type of economic reality.”

He said that Mercosur faces the task of consolidating the happiness of the people of Latin America.
"We aspire in the coming years to have Mercosur fully economically integrated, accelerating processes of development, of industrialization, of technology. In integral Mercosur that aims for zero poverty in our countries and the cultural integration of our peoples,” he said.

Complementary Economic Zone

Foreign ministers and ministers of the economy, finance and trade from Mercosur countries agreed at Wednesday's meeting in Caracas to propose that the heads of state began talks with other multilateral organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean to construct a complementary economic zone.

This was announced by Foreign Minister Jaua, who read the three communiqués generated at the meeting, including one that advocated dialogue between Mercosur and ALBA, Petrocaribe, and CARICOM.

The objective, he said, is "to advance in the construction of a complementary regional economic zone for the consolidation of Latin American and Caribbean unity and in this way promote integral development, confront poverty and social exclusion, [and boost] complementarity, solidarity and cooperation."

"With this proposal, we seek to give new impulse to the development of complementarity, as a function of the strengths of each nation to overcome the asymmetries existing in the interior of the region," Jaua said.

AVN / Venezuelan Embassy to the US / October 31, 2013

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