Por Gonzalo Ruiz Tovar (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES – Seventeen American countries have condemned the “democratic rupture of Venezuela’s democratic order” and said that they will not recognize measures that the recently-elected Constitutional Assembly adopts in this country, because of “its illegitimate nature”, dpa has reported.
Ambassadors or their representatives from these countries stated in a 16-point Declaration their “strong rejection of violence and any method that involves the use of force” as well as the “systematic violation of basic human rights and freedoms”, which includes “the existence of political prisoners and the lack of free elections subject to international monitoring.”
Nevertheless, Peruvian Ambassador, Ricardo Luna, said on the side that the group is open to supporting a “believable and bona fide” dialogue with President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
The foreign ministers also backed Mercosur’s decision to suspend Venezuela, announcing that it wouldn’t support any candidacy from Caracas at international forums, asking for arm shipments to be cut to the Caribbean country, lamenting the “humanitarian crisis” and expressing its support for the dismissed Attorney General Luisa Ortega.
Luna said that these 17 countries and those who want to join make up an observation group who will hold their next meeting in September, within the framework of the United Nations Assembly.
The Mexican Ambassador, Luis Videgaray, underlined the two most important points at a press conference after the Declaration had been read. These are their disregard for the Constituent Assembly and the decision to only accept what the National Assembly authorizes.
For his part, the Chilean Ambassador, Heraldo Munoz, stated outside of the Declaration, that participating countries, and especially his own, reject “coups, coups organized by the government itself to take on extra powers or military uprisings” as possible ways out of this crisis.
Luna added that the possibility of breaking diplomatic relations with Venezuela is every country’s individual decision, while his Colombian counterpart, Maria Angela Holguin, said that every government will take appropriate humanitarian measures, especially her own and that of Brazil, where Venezuelan emigration is most present.
In another statement made outside of the Declaration, Brazil’s foreign affairs minister, Aloysio Nunes, confirmed the decision, as the president pro tempore of Mercosur, of this group’s decision to exclude Venezuela for what they consider anti-democratic practices.
Summoned by Peruvian president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, one of Maduro’s most hardline critics, the meeting was held at the Foreign Ministry, and was chaired by Luna, although the Head of State did join the meeting in its final minutes.
Participating were the foreign ministers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Santa Lucia, the Canadian deputy FM, Grenada’s representative at the Organization of American States and the Uruguayan ambassador in Lima.
Even though the Lima Declaration was signed by only 12 countries, Luna specified that it represents the sentiments of 17.
While the diplomats were deliberating, hundreds of Venezuelans, who now live in Lima after escaping the social and economic crisis in their own country, gathered in Plaza Francia just 500 meters away to express their support for a hard-line position against Maduro.
Maduro rejects condemnation and receives support from countries in the ALBA alliance.
Maduro had previously rejected the meeting in Lima as unwelcome meddling, which he accused of being orchestrated by Washington. However, the United States didn’t figure on the list of invited countries, dpa reported.
Meanwhile, the sixth meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA) political council issued a statement from Caracas, rejecting the economic sanctions imposed “against the Venezuelan people” by the United States.
“(These sanctions) are a clear violation of international human rights and is an unacceptable interfering effort which has the sole objective of directly affecting the Maduro Government and the Venezuelan people,” the statement highlighted.
The statement was read by the organization’s Secretary General, the Bolivian David Choquehuanca’s, at the meeting which Maduro attended. He said that the US’ actions aren’t solving the Venezuelan people’s problems and are doing the opposite by making them worse.
Similarly, ALBA confirmed its support for a dialogue between the Government and Venezuelan opposition groups to resolve differences within the country.
It also paid its respects to the installation of the Constituent Assembly, which it called a “legítimately sovereign” act by the Venezuelan people.
Founded in 2004 by Venezuela and Cuba, ALBA is also made up of Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Granada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Santa Lucia, Saint Vincent and Suriname.