Photo via Noticias Venezuela

Relations between Venezuela and the rest of the Mercosur trading bloc members is a diplomatic spark away from catching fire ever since its four founding members — Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay — suspended Venezuela’s rights as a full member.

Faithful to the Nicolás Maduro administration’s combative style, Venezuela’s representative before the bloc, Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez always refused to accept the decision, arguing it was an intention from the bloc’s now more right-wing administrations to remove the Bolivarian country because of their differences regarding, well, everything.

But on Saturday tensions took a turn when Rodríguez announced she would attend a meeting the foreign ministers of the bloc’s other countries would hold without her in Buenos Aires next Wednesday.

“We know about a meeting of Mercosur’s foreign ministers, illegally called by Argentina for December 14 in Buenos Aires.”

“Venezuela, in a legitimate defense of its rights and interests, as well as the Mercosur’s institutions, will partake in this meeting.”

“On the 14th of December I will be in Buenos Aires, carrying Venezuela’s message of integration and unity to our brothers of Mercosur.”

“At the same time, we will be in Montevideo on the 15th at the negotiations aimed at solving controversies directly promoted by Venezuela.”

Clarín’s, Natasha Niebieskikwiat, a journalist with access to Foreign Ministry sources, explains in an article that, “should Rodríguez come, Malcorra will have to at least receive her, but it’s unknown what will happen if she tries to partake in the meetings. No one has given an answer to that.”

On december 1 the bloc’s founding members officially explained they had suspended Venezuela’s rights as a member because the country had not met the last deadline it had for complying with the Mercosur’s requirements to put the trade bloc’s “charter in full effect” — a crucial step in becoming a full member, according to what a bloc source who preferred to remain in anonymity told different outlets.

Venezuela theoretically should be serving as the bloc’s leading member since July, but Brazil and Paraguay prevented that from happening, arguing the political, economic and social crisis the country is going through makes it unfit to assume the leadership role.

Unsurprisingly, Venezuela challenged the decision. Also via Twitter, Rodríguez announced her country would “legitimately continue exercising the Mercosur’s presidency” in accordance to the bloc’s rulebook, which establishes the baton rotates every semester in alphabetical order. Going further, she informed the international community that her country activated the bloc’s mechanism to solve disputes due to the “aggression and harassment” it had been suffering.

As Rodríguez mentioned in her tweet, representatives from the bloc’s members will meet in Montevideo on Thursday to try sort things out. It will prove to be a difficult task, considering how distant both parties’ positions are.