Mercosur suspends Venezuela’s membership

SAO PAULO, Brazil – MERCOSUR, a Latin American regional economic bloc, has decided to suspend the membership of Venezuela in the organization.

According to a statement adopted after the Saturday’s meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brazil, the decision to suspend Venezuela’s membership was made due to the alleged violation of democratic principles in the country.

Earlier in the day, Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes said that Brazil will propose suspending Venezuela from the sub-regional Mercosur trade bloc.

On July 21, Argentine President Mauricio Macri said Mercosur – comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela – was willing to act as a mediator in the conflict between the Venezuelan government and its opposition.

Last Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government held elections for delegates to the constituent assembly. The move led to mass protests across the nation. The manifestations resulted in numerous victims. Venezuelan opposition, as well as the European Union and the United States, among other countries, refused to recognize the body’s legitimacy.

According to the official figures, more than 8 million people, or over 41 percent of voters participated in the election. At the same time the country’s opposition refused to recognize such estimation claiming that the results had been fabricated and the voter turnout had been lower by at least 1 million of people.