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    Venezuela's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela February 15, 2017.

    Venezuela Accuses Mercosur of Meddling in Country’s Internal Affairs

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    After South American trade bloc Mercosur called on Venezuela to ensure separation of powers in the county amid unfolding institutional crisis, Caracas stroke back, claiming the alliance is exceeding its powers.

    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Venezuelan authorities regard South American trade bloc Mercosur’s statement on the situation in the country as meddling in its internal affairs, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said.

    “That is a new act of meddling into Venezuelan affairs, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses strong resentment over the meeting of [Mercosur] foreign ministers in Buenos Aires, who exceeded their powers and competence insisting on illegal violation of Venezuela’s status as a Mercosur member state. They made a decision that is beyond legal and institutional powers of this organization and international law,” Rodriguez said on saturday, as quoted by the Globovision broadcaster.

    Earlier on Saturday, Mercosur called on Venezuela to ensure separation of powers in the country during an emergency meeting devoted to the Venezuelan Supreme Court's decision to assume the functions of the country’s parliament.

    The decision on assuming parliament's powers was announced by the court on Wednesday, and triggered sharp criticism around the world. Such countries as Colombia, Chile and Mexico expressed their concern over the court's decision, while Peru recalled its ambassador from Venezuela. Early on Saturday, the Venezuelan Supreme Court decided to return legislative powers to the National Assembly, and immunity to its lawmakers.

    Venezuela is currently in the state of economic emergency, announced by country's President Nicolas Maduro in January 2016 amid widespread food shortages, high inflation and anti-government protests.

    Mercosur, founded in 1991, is a sub-regional economic bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela and is aimed at promoting free trade. Venezuelan membership was suspended in 2016 due to its alleged failure to fulfill economic, human rights and immigration requirements and presidency in the bloc was handed over to Argentina.

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    meddling, internal affairs, Mercosur, Delcy Rodriguez, Venezuela
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