Mexico’s absence was noted in the most recent meeting of Mercosur. Neither President Vicente Fox nor Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Derbez, invited to represent the second-largest economy in the region, attended the event in Montevideo, citing previous commitments. For many observers, the real reason they left the duty to the Mexican Ambassador to Uruguay was to avoid the obligation to congratulate Venezuela and President Hugo Chavez on its induction as a member of Mercosur. Mexico and Venezuela mutually withdrew their ambassadors in November due to a difficult