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    Mercosur Members to Discuss Crisis in Venezuela on Monday

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    The foreign ministers of Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay plan to meet on July 11 in the Uruguayan capital to discuss the situation in Venezuela in the context of its membership in the Mercosur Latin American regional economic bloc, Paraguay's Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Venezuela assumed presidency in the bloc on July 1 amid concerns over growing discord in the country amid a political standoff between Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and the opposition-dominated parliament. Both Paraguay and Brazil have raised the possibility of blocking Venezuela's chairmanship due to what is being claimed to be a breakdown of democratic order in the country.

    "The situation in Venezuela is deteriorating daily, here in Mercosur, we need a country that has internal stability and peace so it can face the challenges that we will have in the next half a year," Loizaga said, as quoted by the Venezuelan El Nacional newspaper.

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with deputies of Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV) and ministers at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, in this handout picture provided by Miraflores Palace on January 22, 2016
    © REUTERS / Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters
    Maduro declared an economic emergency in Venezuela in January. The announcement came two days after Venezuela’s oil price dropped to $24 a barrel, the lowest mark in 12 years. Up to 96 percent of Venezuela’s budget depends on oil revenues. The measure has since been extended.

    Venezuela’s opposition has blamed Maduro for the economic crisis in the country, having gathered enough signatures in favor of a recall referendum.

    Founded in 1991, Mercosur is a sub-regional economic bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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