Mercosur's founding states give Venezuela a Dec. 1 deadline

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The four original nations of South America's Mercosur trading bloc announced Tuesday that they are giving Venezuela until Dec. 1 to comply with its commitments when it joined in 2012 that it would comply with all the group's requirements.

Brazil's foreign minister tweeted that Venezuela would be suspended from the group if it failed to meet the deadline.

The ultimatum was contained in a statement from Mercosur founders Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay that was released by the Foreign Ministry of Paraguay, where the group has its headquarters.

The statement gave no details about the requirements that Venezuela had not met.

But Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga recently said that among the things Venezuela needed to do was protect human rights and enact a law guaranteeing free movement of citizens of the member nations. He also said Venezuela was not allowing opposition groups to protest freely.

On Twitter, Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra said the group would suspend Venezuela as a member if the group's demand is not met. He also said that the four countries agreed that Venezuela would not take over the bloc's rotating presidency as scheduled and instead Mercosur will be presided over by a commission of one member each from the four founding states.

Mercosur took in Venezuela as a member in an effort to link the region's most powerful agricultural and energy markets.