Mercosur suspends Venezuela for failure to follow rules

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South American nations say they have suspended Venezuela from the Mercosur trade group over its failure to comply with its commitments when it joined the group in 2012.

Argentina's foreign ministry said in a statement Friday that Venezuela had failed to meet a Dec. 1 deadline to adopt certain standards required for membership. The foreign ministers of the four founding members — Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay — notified Venezuela's government of the decision in a letter.

Mercosur accepted Venezuela as a member when South America was dominated by leftist governments in an effort to link the region's biggest agricultural and energy markets.

But the socialist-run Venezuela has fallen afoul of its neighbors as it has cracked down on the opposition and conservative governments have assumed power in Argentina and Brazil.