UNASUR Demands Respect for Election Results in Venezuela

HAVANA TIMES — The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) has demanded respect for the results of the recent Venezuelan elections and applauded the country’s electoral authorities for deciding to hold a full audit of the votes.

In a declaration pronounced following a meeting which ran into the early hours of Friday, attended by Venezuela’s elected president Nicolás Maduro, UNASUR underscored the massive turnout of voters at the recently concluded elections and stated that such levels of participation “ratify the democratic process.”

In addition to this, it “congratulated” Maduro “for his election as president”, which dispels doubts surrounding the acknowledgement of results which the opposition refuses to recognize as legitimate.

UNASUR stated that all claims, inquiries or extraordinary procedures requested by the defeated opposition “will have to be channeled through or addressed within the juridical framework currently operative in Venezuela and on the basis of the democratic will of the parties.”

UNASUR “wants to commend Venezuela’s National Electoral Council for its decision (announced while the Summit was underway) to implement a method that will allow for a thorough auditing of all polling places,” the declaration stresses.

The regional organization called on Venezuelans to “cease all expressions or acts of violence that place the country’s peace at risk and expressed support for the injured and the families of those who were killed on April 15, 2013.”

“We also call on everyone to engage in peaceful debate and to contribute to the preservation of an atmosphere of tolerance, for the good of all Venezuelans,” UNASUR added.

UNASUR agreed to send a commission to “accompany” the investigation into the violent events, which Maduro’s government blames on opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

The outcome of the meeting was no cause for surprise, as the leaders present had, some openly and others with a degree of caution, expressed support for Maduro and had even congratulated him for his achievement.

In addition to Maduro and Peruvian host Ollanta Humala, attending the late night meeting were Cristina Fernández (Argentina), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Sebastián Piñera (Chile), Juan Manuel Santos (Colombia) and José Mujica (Uruguay).

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, currently visiting Asia, was unable to attend. Representatives from Guyana and Surinam were also present, while Paraguay, currently excluded from the organization, was absent.