Venezuela rejects Mercosur suspension

Caracas (AFP) –


Venezuela on Friday angrily rejected its suspension from the South American economic bloc Mercosur, saying it did not recognize the action taken by the group's four other member states.

Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay had informed the leftist government in Caracas that it was being suspended for failing to meet democratic and trade standards, a Brazilian government source said Thursday.

"Venezuela does not recognize this null and void action sustained by the Law of the Jungle of some officials who are destroying MERCOSUR," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said on her Twitter account.

Although Venezuela joined Mercosur in 2012, the other members complain it has yet to ratify a number of rules governing trade, politics, democracy and human rights.

Venezuela's neighbors are becoming increasingly wary of developments in the once-booming oil exporter.

Maduro's opponents blame him for an economic meltdown marked by food shortages, riots and looting in the oil-rich country.

Venezuela has been hit hard by the plunge in global prices for its crucial crude oil exports since mid-2014.

Rodriguez insisted that Venezuela "will continue exercising the legitimate presidency (of Mercosur) and will participate with the right to speak and vote in all the meetings as a State Party."