The changes that Argentina is experiencing as of the new government and towards global reintegration furthering inter alia, the entrance of our country to the OECD, the Mercosur-Pacific Alliance treaties, the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) – Mercosur treaties and the Mercosur– European Union treaties, seem to progress on a plane of magnanimous wishes if we consider the current state of Mercosur.
The recent statements by President Maduro in national TV are clear evidence of this situation: “Venezuela will be respected; we hold the presidency of Mercosur and we are going to fully exercise such Powers, people from the Triple Alliance, and I’m calling the people to close ranks with the people of South America to defend the rights of the people of Venezuela… we are waiting for you here, we’re going to face you and we’re going to beat you, but you will not mess with Venezuela”.
With these actions, Maduro is destroying the institutionality of the regional block by breaking the unity that had been achieved until now. What image are we showing to the world? The accusations are issued against the presidents of Argentina, Mauricio Macri; Brazil, temporary president Michel Temer; and Paraguay, Horacio Cartes, which Maduro has referred to as the “Triple Alliance of torturers”.
Venezuela is in charge of the temporary presidency of Mercosur, despite the objections issued by Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
During the construction of an integration process, there is a constant struggle between holding on to power or transferring it. States are important and powerful actors at the beginning of a negotiation but as the process evolves, regional institutions and transnational actors start playing an essential role.
The Dynamics of the integration process are specific to each case. We see a clear difference between both regions. While in Europe the dynamics are fed back beyond the control of the states; in Mercosur, the role played by national governments is predominant, to the extent of hindering the self-generation process itself.
In Mercosur there are no supranational organs that can take decisions but rather intergovernmental organs and incomplete legal deeds. Therefore, there is no effectiveness in any decisions issued by the block insofar such decisions are not adopted by each of the member countries within their internal legislation. Furthermore, the absence of a supranational organ regarding the solving of differences or independent issuance of justice which supports any decision taking process, implies that any legal decisions issued by such organ will not become effective for the member countries.
Regarding PARLASUR, this organ is not empowered to issue any decision whatsoever. It only makes suggestions or recommendations to the only organ that can effectively decide, which is the Council of the Common Market (CMC, after its wording in Spanish). However, the presidents of the member states take the most important decisions. The essence of such institutional weakness within this integration framework, is embedded in the guiding principle that Mercosur adopted from its beginning: the principle of inter government, whereby the states hold the power to decide on all issues. On the contrary, since the beginning of the European Union, the European Parliament was given the power of institutionality.
Maduro claims that Venezuela joined Mercosur with the intention of properly integrating to a new integration mechanism, which not only includes trading matters. However, how can we speak of a new integration mechanism when the Democratic Chart provided in the Ushuaia Protocol (1998) is breached? The Chart provides for the expulsion from the block of any country that fails to respect the Democratic order, despite the application of any trade sanctions or the closing of borders.
Illegal detentions, the seizure of Public Power, the deprivation of civil and political rights, persecutions and lack of freedom for the Press are some of the issues that alter the Democratic order, which is an unsurpassable obstacle for the continuity of the regional integration process.