Venezuela hoisted the flag of the Mercosur bloc in Caracas as a signal of its claim over the pro-tempore presidency of the bloc, despite the lack of recognition from the other three country members, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil — which Venezuela said are trying to take the chair in a move managed by Washington. The move came on the same day Paraguay recalled its ambassador to Caracas after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro made disparaging remarks about Paraguay. “The bloc is at the edge of abyss,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said. “We are shocked at the way the international treaties are being run over. The rules are clear, the pro-tempore presidency corresponds to Venezuela.” Uruguay announced the end of its presidency of the bloc last week, ahead of the start of the new term on August 1. Venezuela formally declared it had taken over the role, but Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil rejected that announcement. Following similar statements by Maduro, Rodríguez accused Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil of entering “a triple alliance” against his government, a loaded term referring to the nineteenth century war in which Paraguay faced off against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, the bloodiest military conflict in Latin American history.
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