Mercosur means higher Venezuelan state weight on economy
Business sector fears increased imports by the Venezuelan state
The conjunction of the "21st Century Socialism" and the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) will strengthen the "port economy." This is what Venezuelan industrialists fear most following the statements of Minister of Industry Ricardo Menéndez, who stressed on Tuesday that one of the advantages of joining the South American bloc was cheaper food imports.
"This will lead to a reduction of tariffs to zero and obviously a cheapening of these products," said Menéndez.
Ismael Pérez Vigil, the executive president of the Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (Conindustria), called Menéndez's statements a "paradox," adding that they show the economic stance of the Executive Office.
"He should focus on the way to encourage our industry, but he speaks of the port economy that is implemented by the national government."
Asdrúbal Oliveros, director of research firm Ecoanalítica agreed with Vigil and said that with the membership of Venezuela in Mercosur, the government tries "to make feasible the supremacy of the State."
"With this type of agreements, the government is looking for cheap suppliers with ideological affinity."
Additionally, Oliveros said that the same occurs in negotiations with China or Nicaragua. "There is no economic complementarity, but ideological complementarity."
Ecoanalítica director said the consequences for the Venezuelan private sector will be "hard" as the government will allocate more foreign exchange for public imports to the detriment of private imports.
Luis Jiménez Alfaro seems to have hidden under the rocks. The last time he was seen was on April 2006 walking calmly around Simón Bolívar International Airport of Maiquetía, located nearby Caracas. At that time, more than five tons of cocaine arrived in Mexico in an airplane which took off from Venezuela, and his name featured as a missing piece of the puzzle of one of the most massive drug shipments that has been witnessed in the Western Hemisphere.