Brazil’s President Lula hopes for Venezuela’s Quick Return to Mercosur

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“We also hope for Venezuela to make a rapid return. The normalization of political life in Venezuela means stability for all of South America. This is why we hope the election runs smoothly and is recognized by everyone.”

While visiting Bolivian President Luis Arce in Santa Cruz de la Sierra on Tuesday, Brazil’s President Lula da Silva said that he hopes that Venezuela can quickly return to the Mercosur regional trading block.

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After commemorating the return of Bolivia to Mercosur, Lula said, “We also hope for Venezuela to make a rapid return. The normalization of political life in Venezuela means stability for all of South America. This is why we hope the election runs smoothly and is recognized by everyone.”

The President’s comments were welcomed as another step forward in rebuilding relations between the two neighbors after their deterioration, which started after the 2016 parliamentary coup against Dilma Rousseff and reached a low point during the Bolsonaro administration, when the far right Brazilian president cut off diplomatic relations, recalled his ambassador from Caracas and even offered to supply troops to help the Trump administration if it carried through on its threat to invade Venezuela.

Even during the height of the diplomatic breakdown between the two nations, however the Venezuelan government refused to let politics get in the way of humanitarian aid when in 2021, during the the Covid 19 pandemic, it sent 130,000 liters of oxygen and a team of doctors to the Brazilian city of Manaus.

#Internacionales #10jul Lula aboga por fortalecer rol del Mercosur con Venezuela incluida pic.twitter.com/TE7OSnewB2

— Entérate 24 (@enteratee24) July 11, 2024

For years, Brazil’s Workers’ Party governments had a close relationship with the government of Venezuela. In 2005, President Lula worked closely with President Hugo Chavez and Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner to defeat the Bush administration’s neoliberal Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

However, since taking office for the third time in 2023, Lula’s Workers’ Party government has occasionally frustrated its neighbor by sending mixed messages on issues such as the Maduro administration’s plebiscite on Essequibo.

Venezuelan political analyst Diego Sequera, from Mision Verdad, believes that after reaching a low point of 0 during the Bolsonaro years, Brazil and Venezuela’s positive relationship has hit a level of around 70% compared to its level during the Chavez years.

“This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a good neighbor policy going on right now. But at some moments, Brazil has acted wearily with Venezuela. I think it has to do with what is called the Brazilian trademark in global foreign relations. It’s trying to play this middle role in a lot of conflicts, regarding itself as a global player. I think this forces them to concede on some liberal issues in order to be more palatable to another political audience, outside of the region. I think about the European Union, specifically, even more than the US.”

Venezuela’s Presidential elections will take place on July 28th.

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