By Nestor Rojas Mavares (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro received strong support Monday from his allies from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA), on the fifth anniversary of the death of commander Hugo Chavez, reported dpa.
The presidents of Bolivia, Evo Morales; from Cuba, Raul Castro; of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, and the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, signed a declaration in which they demand respect for the sovereignty and self-determination of the Venezuelan people.
They also criticized the interventionist policies of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almargo, a severe critic of Maduro, and the so-called Lima Group, created to monitor the Venezuelan situation and propose solutions, as an instrument of interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela.
At the end of the 15th summit, the ALBA countries unanimously defended Venezuela’s participation in the eighth summit of the Americas in Lima, on April 13 and 14, after the Government of Peru withdrew Maduro’s invitation, accusing him of undermining democracy.
The declaration indicates that the VIII Summit of the Americas should be a meeting point for the states of the continent to work for common objectives, respecting diversity, for which they demanded the participation of Venezuela.
The document points out that the ALBA-TCP will make the necessary diplomatic efforts for Venezuela to attend Lima. The text also highlights respect for international law and the peaceful resolution of disputes.
In the Summit plenary, Raul Castro questioned what he called the military threat, the hostility and economic aggression of imperialism against Venezuela. He said that the neoliberal attack seeks to reverse the social conquests of the Bolivarian revolution.
“We condemn coercive, unilateral measures and external interference against the revolutionary process that threatens peace and generates processes of destabilization and economic aggression against Venezuela so that its people cannot enjoy the rights conquered by their revolution,” Castro said.
Meanwhile, Ortega recalled Chávez’s efforts in favor of integration with the creation of ALBA, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Petrocaribe energy alliance.
“What is built is here,” he said, pointing to the plenary of the ALBA summit. “We can’t imagine the creation of CELAC without ALBA,” he added.
Ortega said that the works of Chávez gave and continue to bear fruit as part of the efforts to eradicate poverty.
Evo Morales indicated that progressive governments maintain the principle of promoting integration for the liberation of peoples.
“The United States and its governments never want sovereign countries, they want submissive governments. Thanks to the struggles spearheaded by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, we guarantee dignified peoples,” he said.
Morales called on the Venezuelan opposition not to become an “accomplice” of an external intervention and said that Maduro is called a dictator despite the fact that last year Venezuela held three elections and for May 20 another was called to elect a president.
“We must tell Maduro: brother you’re not alone,” he said.
The presidents attended the Miraflores Palace at the beginning of the events in memory of Chavez with a traditional cannon shot from the Cuartel de la Montaña, a military museum where the commandant’s remains lie.
Chavez was, along with the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the founder of ALBA, a group opposed to neoliberalism.
Upon receiving his colleagues, Maduro went out to greet hundreds of government supporters who gathered in a street next to the government house.
At the meeting, the presidents expressed praise for Chavez, his political legacy and his solidarity with the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Maduro recalled that five years ago, at the same time, he was responsible for announcing to the country the “hardest” news he ever gave.
“But five years later we have learned all the lessons, five years later we remember the commander Hugo Chavez, not with tears, but with a smile of commitment, of the future because Chavez is more future than past,” he added.
Maduro also said that on May 20 Venezuela will hold presidential elections, which will define the country’s path: “It will be a struggle between democracy or the coup, between independence or submission.”
The government organized events for 10 days in a tribute to Chavez, who died in 2013 after a fight against cancer.