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For Brazil It’s Better to Have Venezuela’s Chavez Inside than on the Loose

Mercosur is suffering a "serious institutional problem" because there hasn’t been effective understanding between country members on how to address macroeconomic synchronization difficulties, admitted Brazil’s presidential advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia during an interview with daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

"Establishing a customs union won’t solve problems because there are countries which are more complex than others. The main issue is to address economic asymmetries, since simple trade association is not enough for Mercosur," said Garcia.

However and in spite of the current difficulties facing the block with junior members (Paraguay and Uruguay) threatening to establish stronger links with other trade blocks, Garcia said Mercosur has a great "virtue" and that is "the capacity to attract new members", as has been proved by Venezuela’s incorporation.

"We’d rather have Venezuela inside Mercosur and as a close ally of Brazil, than on the loose," admitted Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s top foreign policy advisor.

However Garcí­a said that in spite of Brazilian efforts towards regional integration, the priority is "the World Trade Organization Doha round which is discussing further trade liberalization but has been stalled for months."

"Currently our attention is targeted on the WTO Doha round".

Garcia also talked about Bolivia saying that "the climate of trust" between Brazil and Bolivia following the impact of the hydrocarbons nationalization policy of President Evo Morales, "has been reestablished".

"Both governments depend on each other. Brazil depends on Bolivian natural gas while Bolivia depends crucially on the Brazilian market," underlined Garcia.

He discarded the idea that countries under the leadership of ethnic-social groups such as in Bolivia are an obstacle for South American integration and future union, "one of the priorities of Brazilian diplomacy".

"The election of President Morales represents a social revolution achieved by the ballot. No other Bolivian president ever managed the electoral legitimacy of Mr. Morales," underlined Garcia.

As to regional leadership, Garcia said that the Brazil/Argentina is a priority axis in Mercosur, but there should be no suspicions.

"Leadership is being questioned by groups who believe Brazil is involved in the South American integration project to achieve predominance, which is nonsense," pointed out the Brazilian advisor.

"The only who are entitled to seek leadership are football teams. Besides, leaderships have to be acknowledged, not proclaimed".

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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