Mercosur Shows Lack Of Ethics

July 4, 2012

It is truly sad to realize that so many Latin American leaders lack ethics. But what else can you say about Mercosur’s decision to suspend Paraguay as a member until a new President is elected and then have a few Presidents meet to rush to allow Venezuela to become a member using that loophole? This could only be done because Paraguay was the only country objecting to Venezuela’s entry into this “free market”. But Paraguay is still a member of Mercosur, even if its rights have been temporarily suspended.

Only some Uruguayans seem to be worried about what happened and while that country’s President was part of the back room deal, it is being questioned on both legal and moral grounds. There may be some hope in some countries after all, when the Vice-President of Uruguay warns that “it may be that the institutionality of Mercosur is so weak, that it will become useless” because of this perverse act.

And useless it will become, when a group of Presidents act like a bunch of hoodlums, making a mockery of Paraguay’s rights within Mercosur to allow them to take advantage of Chavez’ grandiose plans to belong to a free trade pact that we can not export anything into.

Because that is all they want, to be able to shove down Venezuela’s throats their products, knowing full well, our country will gain little from being a Mercosur member. We only have oil for export and any country in that weird “free trade” zone can impose tariffs on oil if they want.

And as the world watches Venezuela’s Foreign Minister interfering in Paraguay’s very internal affairs, video included, Mercosur’s leaders take sides with their less than democratic, but rich Venezuelan partner, in order to get back at poor Paraguay’s principled opposition to Venezuela’s membership in Mercosur, because they do not believe a country led by an autocrat should be part of their club.

But ethics has not been the forte of Latin American leaders as of late. Human Rights have become secondary to commerce and the gains of the 80’s and 90’s in that area have been eroded by the new Latin American Left. One day, when the pendulum swings against them, they may come to regret it.

51 Responses to “Mercosur Shows Lack Of Ethics”

  1. CharlesC Says:

    Venezuela under Chavez is it’s own worst enemy. Instead of any “strategic investment” in technology, industrialization, or god forbid-capitalistic ventures-
    Chavez has sacrificed the treasure for pennies on the dollar and invested in
    weapons of war. Plus, Chavez expropriated(robbed), took control of many large businesses and they are now dysfuctional or closed. The auctioning off of the Faja del Orinoco WILL BE forever the worst thing Chavez ever did to Venezuela. It is all a scheme get money-or credits now, b. to avoid investing Venezuelan money, c. allows quicker returns of larger amounts of money and loans to be used for weapons purchases.
    Venezuela will never be an economic power- not even competitive in anything.
    The oil reserves are set up to support the welfare state and pay off loans
    for weapons. This is your life-this is your future.

    • gordo Says:

      You didn’t mention the corruption… the massive pillage and plunder that’s made the Chavez family and many cohorts and generals rich.

  2. VJ Says:

    When you are a follower of the Cyrenaic school of ethics, there is nothing wrong with shoving down a piece of Argentine beef and a cup of Malbec…

    ” Founded by Aristippus of Cyrene, Cyrenaics supported immediate gratification or pleasure. “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Even fleeting desires should be indulged, for fear the opportunity should be forever lost. There was little to no concern with the future, the present dominating in the pursuit for immediate pleasure. Cyrenaic hedonism encouraged the pursuit of enjoyment and indulgence without hesitation, believing pleasure to be the only good.”

  3. gordo Says:

    The most important structure in government is in the career bureaucracy, that it be competent, stable, non-sectarian, and able to contain political extremists that come and go.

    • gordo Says:

      In the bureaucracy, as with soldiers on the battlefield, following orders should not be a defense for crimes against conscience.

  4. CharlesC Says:

    In fact- it is what you DO NOT see at the Parade that is worth pondering.
    Chavez Independence Day parade is a cake-walk a love fest an occult worship event.
    What is missing is the HARDWARE. Rows and rows of tanks.Large trucks loaded with missiles. Thousands of soldiers marching by and jets flyng overhead.
    That is what Chavez really wanted to do for Independence Day -but that would open up the eyes of Venezuela and the world…

  5. La Garrapatica Says:

    Cual es la demografia, la puntografia, la miligrafia, la perrografia, la stadisiticafia, la comentaria, la hambriduria, la asimetria, de tanto llanto a la luna, el presente,

    buscando pueblo, para un cambio, hundido en terratenientes de la mente y del olor de agua tocando la tierra geosmin, siempre ausentes, a la mata que da mangos,

    buscando abejas entre las cayenas, a la risa de las hienas de nuestra tierra olvidada y usada, en liricas impartidas de llantos ancestrales, buscando dar a sus indigenas nuestra triste moral(al oligarca vestido en guayuco)

    , lego de la biblia, lejos de lesbo, dejando huellas tras el altar del conocimiento, con lupa en la huella y no en la mente, que llanto las luces de nuestra centralizacion hoy inundan el cielo, de donde se forjo nuestra incertidumbre,

    castillos que ya no siguen el equinoxio, dioses del cultivo, castillos de arena que no importan sus granos, si se los lleva una ola, triste verdad del pasar, gritando gloria a punta de metal forjado de la piedra en la que cocinaba nuestra energia. Oh mundo sin saltos, que vendra.

    Un chaves del ocho, buscando infinito, comiendo moscas y haciendo plastilina, olvidando que el rojo vino del hierro y el negro del hueso…

    Siempre aqui la garrapata, unido al mas arrecio culebra o tigre, pescado o cangrena, mi palabra es la ultima, y mi cuerpo el polvo.

    Firma la mitocondria!

  6. CharlesC Says:

    The Devil wrote-…”Mercosur to allow them to take advantage of Chavez’ grandiose plans to belong to a free trade pact that we can not export anything into” Chavez said “Mercosur is the way”- but in Chavez’s mind it not about trade-only about military and building a military empire in a multipolar world
    Repeating what I said before:
    “If the billions Chavez spent on weapons had been spent on peaceful industrialization- Venezuela would have millions of good jobs and exportable products- and be exporting food for example.”
    This is why Chavez gave away Faja del Orinoco- to get the money fast to buy weapons. Chavez is not interested in industrialization of Venezuela- only militarization. If the billions spent on weapons had been spent on PDVSA
    does anyone doubt that production would be double.(Seriously, if anyone doubts that- let’s stop right here and discuss it.)Venezuela and the future has been bankrupted to buy weapons. How much do you think Chavez will spend on weapons between now and 7-October? How many billions have been spent on weapons so far this year?

  7. Noel Says:

    It is very disappointing to see Brazil act the way they do. it is also perplexing that Brazil seems to believe that they can, in the West, achieve regional leadership without championing principles.

    It does appear that Mercosur is getting more irrelevant by the day, witness the Pacific economic alliance (Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico) and the forecast I recently saw that by 2020 the GNP of Colombia will/should pass that of Argentina.

    As to explaining the move as a way to invite the new Capriles government, I don’t buy it, and if I were Capriles and wanted to join in, I would prefer to enter by the main door. Actually, I think that the move, in the eyes of Brazil, is one to “stabilize” Venezuela in case Chavez dies by trying to tie up whomever wins the elections.

    As an American, I also find it frustrating that the the US stays mum and doesn’t defend legitimacy and democracy in a region it says is of strategic importance.

    • firepigette Says:


      I think the US wants a low profile because of more urgent problems in other parts of the world.

      On the other hand ,Obama sympathizes with left wing governments in LA. Remember Honduras?

  8. firepigette Says:


    Perhaps the Parliamentary system would be better for LA in theory,though it is my tendency to believe that systems do not change people.With the existing culture of ‘caudillismo’ in LA who is going to put the bell on the cat?Just look at the virulence with which the ” president’s club ” reacts every time there is an attempt to limit their power.

    There is a difference between the culture of democracy in the West and in Latin America.The wording of their organizational treaties might be the same, requiring democracy for member States to be admitted, but in LA that is just a formality, whereas the EU actually applies it.For example , Belarus is not going to be admitted into the EU, whereas Cuba is given a clean bill of health by LA countries.It must be said that this undemocratic attitude is prevalent in much of the third world and not just in LA.

  9. Kepler Says:

    I am happy Daniel Duquenal touched the topic of Parliamentarism versus presidential “democracy”, which in Spanish America seems to lead all the time to caudillismo. It’s a pity no one else in the Americas seems to be talking much about it, probably because they just see the presidential system as measure of all things.

    Most governments have rather feeble no ethics whatsoever but they keep the forms to some extent.

    The way in which the West supports many governments around the Globe is not more ethical than the way Brazil supports Venezuela’s regime. The way a lot of aid is actually conditioned to more dependency and regimes in Africa are mostly supported based on the interest of this and that EU or USA or Chinese company should be rather known by now.

    Of course, that doesn’t make what Brazil et alia do now less unethical.
    It would make people more credible if they would be able to express a similar criticism about other countries as they do about the colonialist and plundering attitude of Brazil and ideological crap or opportunism from Argentina-Uruguay and the others.

    • Thanks Kep. Glad to see someone gets it. 🙂

    • cacr210 Says:

      Have you ever read Juan Linz on the failure of Presidential systems, with the exception of the US, to achieve true democracy? The problem is that Presidentialism is deeply ingrained in the political fabric of Latin American countries, the worship of the leader, the sanctity of an elected president. You can see that in the reaction to Lugo’s impeachment where so many people respond to the facts Lugo’s rights were violated because he was impeached by Congress, almost unconsciously and naturally assuming that the legislative branch is less legitimate than the executive one.

      • Ira Says:

        Very interesting point–and a struggle that the U.S. still suffers with today:

        We have a hard time accepting the doctrine of separation of powers–respecting the decisions of all three branches EQUALLY. (We tend to criticize a particular branch of government of overstepping their boundaries, or even breaking the law, when a particular decision or policy doesn’t go the way we want.)

        Andrew Jackson considered the presidency (himself) highly more important than Congress, as the only elected representative voted in by ALL Americans (as opposed to Congressmen and Senators). Those who didn’t go along with him were labeled as traitors. However, his style of governing prevented the south from passing Nullification, an act and mindset that would lead to Civil War 30 years later.

        During FDR’s time, the Supreme Court’s involvement in interstate commerce was highly controversial–like, why should the Supreme Court have ANYTHING to do with business? And today, it’s the Supreme Court who was the deciding factor on passing Obamacare–and are being criticized for overstepping their bounds.

        The fact is, U.S. democracy is still an ongoing experiment, so how can we expect fledgling democracies to fare any better? Here in the states, at least we’re learning to just “suck it up” and accept decisions when they don’t go our way, realizing it’s not a crisis, but simply how the system works.

        But I still don’t think we’re 100% there yet!

        • cacr210 Says:

          And just consider that you are one of the few Presidential Systems in the world that hasn’t lead to a tyranny, and even though, the system is pretty dysfunctional some times, but at least over there Congress and the Supreme Court are respected as separate branches of government. When you have a Presidential systems in countries with no tradition of judicial independence and wide presidential powers, Latin American History is no surprise.
          See the outrage about Paraguay. The Paraguayan Constitution was written having the Stroessner experience in mind, thus limiting executive power a great deal. It created a very powerful Congress, who could impeach a President for simply badly performing his functions. But this is never taken into account by many people who criticizes the impeachment. So, ironically a Constitution written to break the tradition of tyranny in the continent is criticized by people who doesn’t question having systems with Presidents with near-tyrant powers. This is a good article on presidential systems

    • gordo Says:

      I am a doctor that takes care of lots of Latino pacientes. Tengo que tener mucho cuidado, porque van a seguir mis recomendaciones sin pensarlo mucho. Sería muy fácil para mí tomar ventaja financiera de ellos, así que llevar la carga de elegir para ellos los tratamientos que son más económicos.

      En la medicina, tenemos altos estándares éticos que son parte de nuestra cultura. ¿Por qué no la cultura de la pliticians debe tener un alto nivel?

  10. Big Dog Says:

    Doc, Brasil is a modern giant. At the end of the day, the private sector and military call the shots. Brasil is very much in our orbit and military relations between them and us (US) are excellent. The political leadership can support the lefties but gonna get harder to justify deep links with radical elements throughout the region IMO. Venezuela is cut-off from all major multinational military exercises in region since 2008. Getting increasingly isolated.

    • Big Dog Says:

      relations between US and current Paraguy government also excellent. Couldn’t be better…that good.

  11. Dr. Faustus Says:

    One other comment concerning Mercosur…..

    The Itaipu dam, located in Paraguay, is the largest hydroelectric power plant,….in the world. This thing is an engineering marvel. Twenty percent (20%) of all electricity used in Brasil originates from this dam. (98% in Paraguay) Since it was built a few years back on the border with Brasil (Parana River), there has been a constant running battle with Brasil over electricity payments based on the original treaty. In 2009 Brasil, under Lulu, agreed to a “fairer payment of electricity” to Paraguay. Now,…now that Paraguay has been heaved-out of Mercosur, you wonder whether the boys in Asuncion are thinking about ways of getting even. “We want more money for our electricity,…or else!” Why not? Without that dam providing electrical power, Rio and Sao Paulo will go dark in 5 minutes or less. Pay up! Trade wars are so much fun…….

  12. Re:
    It is truly sad to realize that so many Latin American leaders lack ethics.

    Mercado Común del Sur is
    an economic and political agreement between 
    Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
    Promotes free trade and the fluid movement of
    goods, people, and currency. 

    Paraguayan population estimated at 6.3 million [2009].
    Venezuelan 2011 census 27,150.095 is 4 times that of Paraguay.
    Vzlans are rich dame-dos neighbours.

    Economics = Business,
    Politics = Betrayals
    So what else is new?

    • gordo Says:

      You have to take into account that Chavez has a history of giving hard money away for “official” alliances that go nowhere. If I could, I might get in the lineup for my piece of the booty. What is it when a missionary offers a heathen money to become Baptized? It’s wasted money!

  13. When the stomach (beef/Malbec, as Francisco Toro says, probably to provoke, rather than to state a belief, I would hope) overcomes principles we are in deep shit.
    Mercosur has thrown all rules and principles and ethics aside to do what they have done. Mujica has said : “We would be fools if we do not allow Venezuela’s oil in”. Is this all there is to it?
    This is the type of argument that has prevailed among Mercosur “leaders”. I find this pragmatism very revolting. Is there any decency left in the hemisphere?

  14. Dr. Faustus Says:

    “But ethics has not been the forte of Latin American leaders as of late. Human Rights have become secondary to commerce and the gains of the 80′s and 90′s in that area have been eroded by the new Latin American Left.”

    Well, the purveyors of the new ‘ethics’ (Latin American Left) are currently in Caracas to help celebrate the 18th session of the Sao Paulo Forum. They are all there to discuss their core values and ideas. If the core ideas from the ‘Left’ are so overwhelmingly positive for the electorate, why does the “Left’ consistently ignore basic democratic values in the conduct of elections? What are they afraid of? Their superior ideas of the ‘Left’ should be self-evident to all. Why are there no objections from those on the ‘Left’ that their hero of Latin American Leftist ideas, Chavez, completely distorts Venezuela’s democracy by controlling the courts, the media and the military? Were there a ruling right-wing party of Venezuela who used the states coffers to finance their re-election campaigns, or who used the state-controlled media to pump-out propaganda 24 hours a day, you know the ‘Left’ would be screaming till the were all ‘red’ in the face. You just know it. But, yet, they don’t object to what Chavez is doing to Venezuelan democracy? Why the hypocracy? Furthermore, the Sao Paulo Forum has one member whose very admittance turns the whole thing into a farce. Cuba. Can any of the delegates at the Forum tell us how the Castro brothers came to power? Tell us. They are part of ‘your’ group. How’d they get there? Who elected them to political power in Cuba? When was the election? Who was the opposition? What were the countervailing ideas presented to the Cuban people? If no response is forthcoming, any use of the term ‘democracy’ during the Sao Paulo Forum should be met with contempt and derision. The new Latin American Left has no interest in democratic values. They just want political power,….period.

    • gordo Says:

      Economics over human rights? They might think so, but the reality that I see is control over innovation. It’s crazy! If Latin America is to become the economic powerhouse that it can and should be, innovators need to be comfortable that the environment is safe enough for taking entrepreneurial risks.

  15. CharlesC Says:

    Chavez wants Mercosur to be subverted into ALBA.Chavez wants to be part of a world “superpower” militarily -and with the addition of Brazil and Argentina is a step in that direction (they build planes, tanks, weapons) Chavez has spent billions on weapons-now getting into satellites. Satellites for scientific research”
    -who are you kidding. Chavez wants to gather info on US etc and give it to Chinese, Iranians, Russians, etc. with Cuban help.
    So when the 2016 Olympics come around visitors from all over the world will realize that they are in the territory of another “superpower”.
    Chavez wants to develop a military state and is well on the way building it.
    And, of course-Chavez wants to export this.
    If the billions Chavez spent on weapons had been spent on peaceful industrialization- Venezuela would have millions of good jobs and exportable products- and be exporting food for example.

    • La Garrapatica Says:

      Chavez wants his delusion, the rest are taking advantage off of it, Bolizuela la gran pantaleta latinoamericana. Burp!

      • La Garrapatica Says:

        Haciendo Burbujas de hidrocarburo por donde quiera, pasando hambre montado en tanques( y sukisukihois)

        • La Garrapatica Says:

          Pasando la vela, que se quedo prendida, y el embalse de la mariposa, ahogada en alguitas que oh oh otros paises, hacen hacer petroleo!

      • m_astera Says:

        “Bolizuela la gran pantaleta latinoamericana”


  16. firepigette Says:


    These Mercosur governments are a stickler for the rules when it comes to anyone who opposes their political designs.They counter-attacked to change a situation that was to their disadvantage like Lugo being removed by getting Venezuela into Mercosur.

    Si no la gana, la empata.

    Some say that due process was not followed in Paraguay by the speed of the removal,even so, Maduro was able to make his attempt at getting the generals over to his side.Can you imagine what he could have done if he had had several weeks? Lugo would probably never have been removed .

    For some governments like Chavez’s that is always breaking the rules, the expectancy is created that it is not that big a deal.Whereas a government like Paraguay’s is subjected to the strictest scrutiny.

    It’s standard procedure for Chavez to be making economically disadvantageous deals for Venezuela in return for political influence.He is basically sharing ” his” oil wealth with other nations to get his way.

  17. VJ Says:

    Dilma Rousseff is one of the few people in the world, who really knows the true about HCHF´s cancer, and by allowing the Venezuelan membership she is opening the door to the Venezuela of Henrique Capriles Radonsky. She knows that “Si Hay un Camino !!!”.

    • CharlesC Says:

      VJ-you have always been an Ace! I hope you are right.
      But, I doubt that Kirchner is waiting for Caprilles with open arms, don’t you.

  18. island canuck Says:

    Welcome back Miguel.

    Now in addition to the Maduro video the military is now confirming that Maduro tried to pressure them into not accepting the ruling.

    Of course here in Venezuela nothing will happen. It’s perfectly OK for Chavez & his minions to interfere in other countries but he doesn’t want anyone do do the same here except of course the Cubans, Chinese, Iraqis, Russians, etc.

  19. I think this post is really wrongheaded: countries have interests, and presidents are paid good money to look after them. For southern cone exporters, Venezuela is a juicy market, and their leaders are doing nothing but their duty in using all means at their disposal to get them access to that market. “Ethics” doesn’t enter into it one way or another.

    As for shoving their products down our throat, that’s the kind of trasnochao anti-capitalist framing I’d expect in Granma. They’re looking to engage in commerce, which, last time I checked, was something our side was supposed to support!

    (Not to mention, if it’s yummy Argentine beef we’re talking about, I don’t need anybody’s help: I’ll shove it down my own damn throat with a smile, and a glass of Malbec on the side!)

    • moctavio Says:

      Can’t see Vaclav Havel twisting the law and morals for commerce.

      • DomingoL Says:

        Quico, we all have good days and bad days. I’ll put this comment of your, today, in the bad days bad.

        Miguel, thanks for bringing Havel into the discussion. I did not know about him. His legacy does bring out the importance of ethics, without quotes, that we should all expect and demand from ourselves, and also from the leaders of the southern cone exporters. It is indeed their duty.


        • Narco Says:

          Funny Quico, using that argument everything Chavez does can be justified as following his interests.

    • CharlesC Says:

      They’re looking to engage in commerce-yes. (And, no)Mercosur sounds like it is all about commerce. But, Mr. Toro-yes beef is great from Argentina and Brazil and both are major exporters. Venezuelan beef production is going down- do you think it will increase now. Do you think any Venzuelan beef willbe sent to Brazil or Argentina?NO!
      What is secret is the military “market” and this is a win-win for Venezuela-because Argentina and Brazil build lots of weapons, planes, etc. and Chavez is dreaming of a “superpower empire” in a multipolar world against the US. This is why Chavez is joining. Plus, he gets to enjoy watching the fragile Venezuelan businesses get destroyed or gobbled up by “big brother”
      from Brazil and Argentina.

    • La Garrapatica Says:

      And what a boot about the generals, to make sure that chavez stays in power to get all the trans-nationals brains and Hq, and the opep to keep vzla now the one with the best reserves dumbfounded. Commerce a la Gringa, Colombia and Brazil and el resto enjoying and fomenting, even USA and their Generals thinking its better to have the best in the world reserve untapped a pata de mingo with chavez, than having him actually producing.

    • Big Dog Says:

      stick to sushi bro

    • jau Says:

      Quico!! Que es ese comentario?!? Te volviste loco!!
      Quieres decir que si algo te interesa, no importa como lo consigues??
      Asi piensa Chavez y todos los guisadores venezolanos!!
      Pide cacao pana…

    • extorres Says:

      Quico, I think that even using your framework, those countries made a mistake. In the long run, having chavez in their group is not in their countries’ best intersests. For example, and given that there are no free lunches, any product they now dump into Venezuela is a product that they do not sell to USA or other more stable economy. USA, then, will have to find alternative providers of those products. So when Venezuela’s economy goes down, Mercosur countries will have isolated themselves from the markets that are truly in their best interests because they will already be well supplied.

      In fact, free trade agreements are shots to the feet. It’s a form of market control. So, unless they’re using Cray-like computers simulating the markets, they’re not optimizing long term profits.

    • Roy Says:


      As soon as I read Miguel’s post, I was thinking the same as you, “Countries do not have ethics. They have interests.”

      However, countries with long-term goals develop long-term strategies based upon principle. This makes them reliable allies. Countries which act on the basis of the transient expediency of the moment, can be counted on to stab their friends in the back as soon as someone else makes them a better offer.

      • gordo Says:

        Countries don’t have ethics? Well, countries are no different than people! After all, countries are people… at least the people who run the governments!

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