Mercosur 'suspends Venezuela over trade and human rights'
The South American economic bloc Mercosur has suspended Venezuela for failing to meet basic trade and human rights standards, officials say.
Founding members Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay made the decision after concluding Venezuela had not incorporated all Mercosur accords into national law, Brazilian sources say.
The suspension is expected to be officially confirmed later in Friday.
Venezuela has said some Mercosur rules conflict with domestic legislation.
In September the bloc gave the Venezuela until 1 December to fully put its charter into effect.
Late on Thursday, a Brazilian official told Reuters news agency: "Venezuela has not adopted all the membership rules and treaties it had promised."
An unnamed Brazilian official quoted by the AFP news agency said the foreign ministers of the four founding countries had sent a letter to Venezuela saying its membership had been suspended.
There was no immediate comment from Venezuela.
The country joined Mercosur in 2012. Correspondents say its neighbours have become increasingly concerned over developments there.
The opposition blames left-wing President Nicolas Maduro for widespread food shortages, looting, and human rights abuses. The government accuses the US and Venezuela's business elite of trying to destabilise it.
Since 2015, tensions between Venezuela and its Mercosur partners have been exacerbated by the replacement of left-wing presidents by centre-right leaders in Argentina and Brazil.
Earlier this year the bloc stopped Venezuela from assuming the rotating presidency.