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Paraguay’s Decision to Rejoin MERCOSUR Revitalizes Trade Bloc

LADB Article ID: 79196
Category/Department: Region
Date: 2014-01-24
By: Andrés Gaudín

In just two hours, Paraguay’s Congress produced a bit of news that immediately made major changes to the region’s political map. Following a Senate decision eight days earlier, Paraguayan deputies on a split vote Dec. 18 agreed to rejoin the Southern Cone Common Market (MERCOSUR), a trade association it helped create in 1991 along with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay . Venezuela joined in 2012. Immediately after voting to rejoin MERCOSUR, Paraguay’s Congress also decided to recognize the democratic government in Caracas, re-establish diplomatic relations broken 18 months earlier, endorse Venezuela’s MERCOSUR membership, and lift a declaration declaring Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro persona non grata. Together these measures re-established the equilibrium broken on June 22, 2012, when the rightist Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico (PLRA) and Partido Colorado (PC) toppled the constitutional government of President Fernando Lugo in a parliamentary coup d’état.

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