Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced his country was severing all diplomatic and economic ties with Panama after its government sought the intervention of the Organization of American States (OAS) into Venezuela’s domestic affairs.
The move came as the US House of Representatives approved a motion calling on countries in the region to stand in solidarity with protesters currently seeking to topple Maduro.
Maduro saidright-wing Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli has been “actively working against Venezuela”.
“There's a right-wing government that's aiming to convene the Permanent Council of the OAS. It's a plan for the intervention of foreign forces in the country,” Maduro said.
Meanwhile, US hostility towards Venezuela has stepped up in recent days. Two Florida senators have co-sponsored a bill that if passed would lead to sanctions on Venezuelan government officials who hold assets, property and travel visas to the US.
On March 3 Democratic Party National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the Obama administration was looking into imposing similar sanctions.
Then on March 5, the House of Representatives voted 393 to one to condemn the “inexcusable violence perpetrated against opposition leaders and protesters in Venezuela.” The motion also called for governments and groups in the region to stand in solidarity with protesters.
Below, Daniel Gasparri, a Venezuelan currently living in Australia, urges opposition to US interference in his country.
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As of February 12, a series of grave events have unfolded in Venezuela. Right-wing thugs unleashed a wave of violence that day after a protest march that ended with an attack on the attorney-general's office in the centre of the capital.
Three people died in Caracas and 66 were left injured as a result of the violence that occurred across the country that day.
We know that these actions form part of a series of moves by a radical right-wing organisation, Popular Will, and that date back to 2010. Their aim is to lead the country towards violence and rupture the constitutional order.
We know that behind these manoeuvres are the ex-president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, and the US government. Venezuela and its legitimate, constitutional government are under siege from the US government and the Colombian right.
After the April presidential elections last year that President Nicolas Maduro won, US Secretary of State John Kerry made a series of interventionist statements. These included his country “had not yet decided whether we will recognise Nicolas Maduro as president of Venezuela or not,” as if US approval was required for what is purely an internal issue.
On February 16, 10 months later, Kerry again made statements about his concern over the situation in Venezuela. The US government raised three demands: sit down and talk with the opposition, free the protesters that had been detained and third, he said, “the arrest of [Popular Will leader] Mr Leopoldo Lopez could lead to negative consequences in their international ramifications”.
Barack Obama, your demands are unacceptable and insolent. We live in a democratic country and it is unheard off for a foreign government to come and give us lessons on what we should or should not do to resolve our political conflicts.
Fortunately, we are not fools and have taken matters into our own hands.
Venezuela’s foreign ministry has declared three US embassy functionaries working in Venezuela to be persona non grata and expelled from the country after receiving information they had participated in meetings to conspire against the Venezuelan government.
What we must do now is speak out across the world, via all possible means, and unite forces to stop these fascists from achieving their objective: US intervention in Venezuela. Yankees go home!