Reuters is reporting this evening that Venezuela has not complied with the ultimatum given to it by MERCOSUR on September 14 of this year, and that as a result the country has been suspended from the organization.
The news comes from an unnamed Brazilian official who told Reuters that the regional trade bloc might make the formal suspension announcement tomorrow.
The source told the news agency that the reason for Venezuela’s suspension is that it “failed to meet the economic, human rights and immigration accords governing the group”.
Venezuela’s suspension from the trade organization is a black eye for the beleaguered Maduro administration, which is currently overseeing the most catastrophic socio-economic collapse in the country’s modern history.
The Venezuelan government appears to have handled the looming suspension with difficulty, and – as it is wont to do – has suggested repeatedly that the suspension is a naked attack on the Bolivarian Revolution by a global conglomerate of enemies. On November 23, Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez spoke on the matter, saying:
… Venezuela will be neither kicked out of MERCOSUR, nor will it ever accept this type of aggression against our homeland. Venezuela must be respected!
OPEC Agrees to Cut Output
After months of anemic oil prices due to an excess of supply in the global market, OPEC finally agreed yesterday to cut production in an apparent attempt to force the price of the commodity up. Yesterday’s production-cut agreement is the first in eight years.
As part of the agreement, Venezuela will cut production by 95,000 barrels per day, a 4.6% reduction that will result in a daily output of 1.97 million barrels per day starting on January 1.
Maduro spoke on OPEC’s announcement yesterday, calling it a great achievement. As one of the countries hardest hit by the dip in oil prices, Venezuela had been advocating for a production cut for months.
I want to congratulate and thank our partners at OPEC for the important agreement which we’ve reached today to stabilize the market (…) [It’s been] two years of struggle to recover the market and achieve fair, realistic and stable prices.
Cabello: Amazonas Deputy’s Resignation Not Enough
National Assembly deputy and PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello spoke on his television show last night about the opposition threats that it would walk away from the dialogue table unless the government made concrete efforts to live up to its agreements.
Cabello zeroed in on the issue of the resignation of the Amazonas deputies. The three opposition deputies from Amazonas state became the epicenter of a constitutional crisis after the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) ordered them to not join the National Assembly despite having won the elections in their respective districts.
When the National Assembly refused the TSJ’s order and incorporated the deputies anyway, the TSJ ruled that the legislature was in contempt and declared all of its acts null and without effect.
On November 15, the deputies in question formally resigned from the National Assembly, after the MUD and the PSUV agreed on a number of matters during the first round of talks between the two sides. One of the agreements reached was that the deputies leave the National Assembly, on the condition that new parliamentary elections be held in the state.
During his television show last night, Cabello attempted to argue that the deputies’ resignation was somehow not valid. Cabello said:
These gentlemen [the opposition] are now saying that it’s the government that hasn’t met its agreements. The resignation alone isn’t enough. Let me give you an example: I am a [National Assembly] deputy, and I don’t go to the Assembly, but I’m still a deputy. But they want to trick people [by saying that] the Amazonas deputies don’t go [to the Assembly anymore]. No way, buddy.
The Amazonas deputies filed formal resignations, which were received and approved by the National Assembly, meaning that they are no longer associated with the national legislature in any way.
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