On 29 June 2012, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay elected to suspend Paraguay’s participation in the South American trade bloc, Mercosur, following removal of Paraguayan President, Fernando Lugo. Simultaneously, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay admitted Venezuela as a full member of Mercosur, knowing that if Paraguay’s consent were to have been sought, it would have been rejected.

Paraguay is now set to re-enter Mercosur after President Cartes assumed office on 15 August 2013 and made the reintegration of Paraguay a top priority. President Cartes has had a policy of upholding the international rule of law and proceeded with a far-reaching campaign of diplomatic shuttling between capitals, resulting in a political solution at the end of 2013.

Paraguay’s adherence to democratic principles has not changed since 2012. Since the appointment of President Cartes, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have expressed their desire to reinstate the Paraguay to the Mercosur, which highlights the arbitrary nature of the decision to suspend Paraguay in the first place.

The treatment of Paraguay also illustrates a lack of harmony in what is intended to be a regional integration institution, lack of international support, and Mercosur’s dubious interpretation of a “democratic breakdown”. The issue of what can result in a country being suspended from Mercosur has not been resolved.

There are a number of questions over the institutional integrity of Mercosur. Mercosur will (like all countries) naturally encounter further domestic challenges; however, the international standards that Mercosur should endorse are yet to be defined.

The full article, written by Christian Leathley is available here.