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Venezuela suspended from South American trade bloc Mercosur

Maduro's opponents blame him for an economic meltdown marked by food shortages, riots and looting in the oil-rich country which is facing its third year of deep recession, hit hard by the plunge in global crude prices since mid-2014. Photograph: (Getty)

AFP Caracas, Capital District, Venezuela Nov 22, 2016, 02.54 AM (IST)

Venezuela will be suspended from South American trade bloc Mercosur at the beginning of next month, a top official said Monday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government has not adopted 112 resolutions as Venezuelan law, routine procedure for members, leading to its sidelining beginning December 1, Paraguay's Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga said.

Venezuela has said it cannot adopt the text because it conflicts with its domestic laws. 

"If you join an international agreement and something conflicts with local law, you indicate reservations," and Caracas has not, Loizaga said.

Mercosur countries had given Venezuela a three-month period to get up to date on putting the bloc's measures into effect.

Although Venezuela joined Mercosur in 2012, it has yet to ratify a large number of rules governing trade, politics, democracy and human rights.

Venezuela's neighbors are becoming increasingly wary of developments in the once-booming economy.

Maduro's opponents blame him for an economic meltdown marked by food shortages, riots and looting in the oil-rich country which is facing its third year of deep recession, hit hard by the plunge in global crude prices since mid-2014.

The crisis comes at a delicate moment for Mercosur, which has relaunched free-trade negotiations with the European Union.

Tensions between Maduro's government and its Mercosur partners were exacerbated with the election of Mauricio Macri as president of Argentina in 2015 and the replacement of Brazil's ousted former president Dilma Rousseff with Michel Temer.

Both right-leaning leaders replaced leftist presidents.

(AFP)

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