The South American economic union Mercosur has fallen into one of the deepest crises in its 25-year history due to a dispute over Venezuela, one of the bloc’s member countries. After a lengthy debate, the four founding countries, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, threatened to expel Venezuela on December 1 if it had not complied by that date with its obligations, including respect for human rights and freedom of the press. In addition, Venezuela was barred from exercising the presidency of Mercosur, which it should have taken over in July.
The alliance is divided and currently almost inoperable. Due to the dispute over Venezuela, the presidency is in fact vacant. The socialist country, which is facing a serious political crisis, is criticised above all for human rights violations and its handling of the opposition. Venezuela has been a full member of Mercosur since 2012.