Mercosur, the South American economic alliance, has expelled Venezuela for alleged non-compliance with basic democratic principles. The founding members of Mercosur – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – resolved on Friday to suspend the membership of the country with the largest oil reserves in the world. Following the example of the European Union, Mercosur wants to strengthen exchange and trade between its members, offering customs and travel facilities. Venezuela’s foreign minister, Delcy Rodríguez, called the decision to expel the country a “coup”. While Uruguay tried to act as a mediator, the conservative governments of the other countries adopted an offensive strategy.