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Paraguay rejects Venezuela's entry into Mercosur

24 august 2012, 17:58
The Paraguayan Senate rejected Venezuela's entry into Mercosur on Thursday, a largely symbolic gesture as Asuncion has been suspended from the Latin American trade bloc, AFP reports.

"We want to show that, despite being a small country, we defend our dignity and we are not selling ourselves out for (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez's checkbook," Senate legislative committee member Jose Guastella told AFP.

The 45-member Senate voted on the measure by a vote of 31 against three.

Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have already made Venezuela a member of the trade bloc without Paraguay, which was suspended from Mercosur after rush impeachment proceedings against former president Fernando Lugo.

Paraguay has blocked Venezuela from fully joining the trade bloc since 2006.

The administration of new Paraguayan President Federico Franco, of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party, ordered the Senate to review Venezuela's entry into the organization on July 31.

Franco's fellow party members wanted to postpone the review until after the Venezuelan presidential election on October 7 and subsequently withdrew from the vote.

Mercosur barred Paraguay from participating until new elections are held in the country. Franco has announced a new vote will be held in April 2013.

Paraguay claims that the Treaty of Asuncion, which founded Mercosur in 1991, provides that a new country's entry into the bloc must be ratified by the four founding countries.

Guastella said the Paraguayan Congress may take its decision to reject the admission of "the authoritarian, dictatorial government of Hugo Chavez" to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

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