After a six-year wait, Venezuela formally joins the Mercosur regional trading bloc as a full member Tuesday at a Brasilia ceremony to be attended by its mercurial President Hugo Chavez.
Flags of the Mercosur trading bloc member states are seen at the Plaza de la Republica square in Buenos Aires, Argentina on July 24, 2012. Venezuela's membership in the customs union had been blocked since 2006 by conservative Paraguayan lawmakers who viewed Hugo Chavez as anti-democratic.
Until now an associate member, the oil-rich nation of 30 million people will join current members Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, which was suspended from the group late last month until new elections following the ouster of its president Fernando Lugo.
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