Venezuela: Mercosur approves Venezuela membership
Mercosur welcomes Venezuela as a member; Globovisión pays US$ 2.1 million fine; and Iberian American Art Fair opens in Caracas
Venezuela joins Mercosur
Mercosur announced on Friday 29 June that Venezuela is to become a full member of the South American trade bloc by the end of next month.
The decision was made during the Mercosur presidential summit in Mendoza, Argentina, where it was also decided that the suspension of Paraguayan membership over the impeachment of President Fernando Lugo would be extended until democracy is restored.
It was owing to Paraguay’s suspension that Venezuela was able to secure its entrance to the trade bloc. In order to be a member, each country must earn the approval of the Executive and Legislative branches of the governments of all Mercosur member states. After a six-year wait, the Paraguayan congress was the only governmental body that refused Caracas’ entrance to the trade bloc.
Once a country gains full membership, it must eliminate trade tariffs between other member states and adopt a common tariff that ranges up to 20 percent, with some exceptions. Venezuela has 4 years to adapt their commercial and trading code in order to comply with Mercosur’s rules.
Globovisión pays US$2.1m fine
An anti-government television news channel was forced to pay a US$2.1m (£1.3m) fine on Thursday 28 June for its coverage of a prison riot a year ago, in order to avoid seizure of its assets.
On Wednesday 27 June, Venezuela’s Supreme Court placed a confiscation order on assets belonging to Globovisión worth two times the original fine, plus the court costs, an amount that totals US$5.7 million (£3.6m).
The news channel is currently fighting the penalty, and has accused the Supreme Court of disrupting the appeal process with its seizure order. According to Globovisión representatives, the high court actions are part of a governmental plan to intimidate the news channel during the campaign period for the next presidential elections.
The Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (National Comission for Telecom – Conatel) imposed the fine in October 2011, after saying that Globovisión’s coverage of a mutiny in El Rodeo penitentiary ‘generated anguish and encourage illegal conduct.’
Feria Iberoamericana del Arte opens its doors in Caracas
Around 30 art galleries and 400 artists from Venezuela and around the world will participate in this weeklong celebration of art. The fair will be dedicating homage to Venezuelan artists of the 1980s and will have Colombian sculpture artist Hugo Zapata as an honorary guest.
The FIA’s main exhibition will be located at the Hotel Tamanaco, in Baruta municipality. However, those who cannot visit the exposition can still get a glimpse of the work through six installations that will be displayed in different parts of the city.
All fair proceeds will be given to the Damas Salesianas, an organization of Catholic women in service of the poor.