Threat or promise?

Edited by , Brazil correspondent

Sunday Jul 1 2007 18:20

So Hugo Chávez has threatened to leave Mercosur unless the South AmericanBrasília and Buenos Aires will probably breathe a huge sigh of relief. customs union changes its capitalist ways. This will surprise only those right-wingers who believe that the Venezuelan leader intended to “hegemonise” (to use the Gramscian term fashionable among Caracas ideologues) his southern neighbours. Most people in

Over the last 18 months Venezuelan “membership” has brought the slow-moving organisation close to a state of complete inertia, with the Venezuelan leader’s harangues against competition distracting attention from the business of negotiating job creating trade deals with other countries. Brazilian congressmen were so incensed by Mr Chávez’s attacks against them that they had already pledged to block membership into next year. Ever anxious to avoid any sign of open conflict, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva can be guaranteed to extend an olive branch to Mr Chávez, postponing any definitive rupture. But it now looks very unlikely that Chavista Venezuela will ever become a meaningful part of Mercosur.



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