The Bolivarian government of Venezuela, together with its allies in Latin America, have repelled a serious attack on its sovereignty within the Organisation of American Unity (OAS). The attack was led by right-wing OAS secretary-general Luis Almagro, and backed to the hilt by the US government.
After a lengthy debate triggered by Almagro’s call to suspend Venezuela from the body, an extraordinary session of the OAS in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, ended on March 28 without a formal vote on the issue.
Speaking about the result of the meeting, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodriguez said on March 30: "The day marked a victory for Bolivarian peace diplomacy. We fought the battle, defended our homeland, defended the nation.
"We want to thank those countries that remained standing, which did not bow down to the pressures and blackmail that were imposed by Washington," she said, according to AVN.
"Our Latin America and the Caribbean are not the same as in 1962 [when Cuba was expelled], or in the ’50s and ’70s. Our region has changed, because there is something called dignity. The Latin American and Caribbean region is telling them that such actions no longer work ... Venezuela will not [be the victim] of a new imperial [intervention]; the people of our great homeland will not allow an invasion.”
The foreign minister also called on countries that supported interventionist moves against Venezuela to review their actions: “They must rectify [their positions] for the good of their peoples, but also because they do bad service to the region,” she said.
Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, the US and Paraguay all actively expressed their backing for Almagro's move to invoke the OAS Democratic Charter against Venezuela on the spurious grounds that the Bolivarian government was acting undemocratically by refusing to hold a recall referendum for the presidency and had frozen talks with the right-wing opposition.
On the other hand, many Latin American countries spoke strongly in favour of Venezuela, including Bolivia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and a number of Caribbean nations including Dominica, Haiti, Barbados and the Dominican Republic.
Venezuela and other progressive Latin American leaders have slammed the hypocrisy of OAS secretary-general and former Uruguayan foreign minister Almagro for attacking the Maduro government for supposedly being "undemocratic," meanwhile hobnobbing with the leaders of the constitutional coup that overthrew Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rouseff, last year.
Rodriguez said Venezuela would launch a national and international debate questioning the usefulness of the OAS in the development of the Latin American peoples. "It is a debate that is open, and we will take it to every corner of the country and to each regional area," she said.
She added that the OAS, instead of promoting the development of the peoples and guaranteeing peace in the region, had endorsed military and interventionist actions on the continent.
"We also know that the OAS remains conspiratorially silent about the massive violations that take place in the region. In the case of Venezuela, it has remained totally silent about the decree by [former US President] Barack Obama [declaring Venezuela a security threat to the US], not to mention its [complete] inaction over the 2002 coup d'etat [in Venezuela]," Rodriguez said.
Meanwhile, on March 27, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, an infamous zealot against Cuba and other left-wing governments in Latin America, publicly warned the governments of El Salvador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic that the US would cut off foreign aid to them if they failed to vote to suspend Venezuela from the OAS.
El Salvador’s left-wing FMLN government responded by slamming Rubio’s attempt to use US aid as a means of “political pressure”.
“Marco Rubio's disregard for international treaties that mediate and lay down the rules for co-operation astonishes us,”said Eugenio Chicas, spokesperson for President Salvador Sanchez Ceren.
[This article appeared as part of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network April 2017 broadsheet.]