Former US Secretary of State and former Trade Representative
Robert Zoellick described as flaw the fact that a country
"the government of which is breaking democratic institutions"
has been allowed to join the Common Market of the South (Mercosur).
In an interview with Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Zoellick conceded that he warned "some friends" of Mercosur members against the likely membership of Venezuela. He added he regretted he was not listened, Efe reported.
"What we see is that Chávez is a problem, and not only vis-à-vis the United States. There you have the nationalizations, the media censorship and attempts at breaking Venezuelan democratic institutions."
According to Zoellick, "as long as Chávez has oil revenues, he will continue to have an influence."
He added that Chávez is leading a "populist wave" that has "effects in Bolivia and Ecuador." He claimed this is "sad" because leftwing governments in those countries "lack solutions to help" their populations.
In his view, Brazil should play a more active role in Latin America and "balance" such "populists" trends by means of firmer stances by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva's Government.
"I would like the voice of Latin America to be President Lula's rather than President Chávez'," said the current CEO of Goldman Sachs Int.