While in Washington DC, President Vazquez declared to a Uruguayan news reporter that Uruguay will change its member status in MERCOSUR, going from full member to just associate member like are today Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
In case you wonder what’s this MERCOSUR thing, to put it in one sentence is the South America’s European Union wannabe. In theory it’s an integration of South American countries initiative very much like it is the EU, at many levels, not only economical ones. In practice it’s just sad, seems to me like a means to Brazilian’s and Argentinean’s ends.
Ok, now you may wonder why? Why Uruguay wants to get out of this apparently noble thing? The answer is because as it is today it’s a joke, the existent asymmetries in the participating countries are just to damn big, and it seems we are just not mature (or wealthy) enough to act based on long term outcome.
For example, Brazil does whatever the blazes it wants. They are ok with the free trade of goods legislation of Mercosur when it’s about their goods entering other countries, but it’s not unusual for Uruguayan trucks loaded with rice to be blockaded when trying to enter Brazil by Brazilian farmers while Brazilian government sits still, or even worse applies taxes to imported good from other countries of Mercosur.
Another example, the Gualeguaychu’s bridge between Uruguay and Argentina has been blockaded for months by Argentinean demonstrators, while at the same time the Mercosur legislation is supposed to guarantee the free circulation of goods, and persons between member countries. In this light the blockade to Uruguay-Argentina’s bridge it’s just unconstitutional. What did Argentina’s government do about it?
Uruguay and Argentina are probably going through their worst diplomatic conflict since the creation of both countries. Uruguay has called for “the council of Mercosur” in order to find a solution, trying to activate mechanisms defined in Mercosur for this sort of situation. Argentina just did not answer the request.
Participating in Mercosur for Uruguay represents not being able to establish free trade treaties with other nations, like the United States or China. As the president put it Mercosur for Uruguay “is more of a problem than a solution”....