Venezuela officially entered South American economic bloc Mercosur on Friday, a move which many have labeled an infusion of economic power into the organization, while the Latin American country pledged to transform it in such a manner so that it brings important social changes.
Argentinean President Nestor Kirchener greeted the historical addition of Venezuela, third richest economy in Latin America, after Brazil and Argentina, prompting a series of leftist speeches, which highlighted the economic independence of the region from the US-led model viewed as a failure. According to Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil, Venezuela's addition to Mercosur means an addition of a combined market of 250 million people and a combined output of 1 trillion dollars in goods and services per year.
He added that no one is interested anymore about the proposal of the Free Trade of the Americas supported by the United States, which has been blocked both by Venezuela and by the other member states of Mercosur since last year. Moreover, the Brazilian President expressed his wish and determination of bringing Bolivia, as well as other nations of Latin America, into Mercosur, so that it becomes an even more powerful organization: "Who Knows? We could come to have a Merco-America and not just Mercosur!".
Upon receiving the official acceptance into the organization, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez declared that Mercosur should forget about its internal minor battles and concentrate upon counterattacking the free-market policies supported by the US that he said have brought the region in debt to the IMF: "Latin America has all it needs to become a great world power. Let's not put any limits on our dreams. Let's make them reality".