By Margaret Villamizar
Following the election of the new National Assembly, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro expressed satisfaction that the National Assembly had been freed from the control of opposition forces who used it as a base over the past five years to violate the country’s constitution, obstruct the normal functioning of government and support the U.S. economic war against the country. He called it a great victory for democracy, for the constitution. Maduro has said that the first task of the new legislature must be to repair the damage done to the country’s economy by the sanctions, adopting necessary measures to fortify and shield it from the effects of the U.S. economic war. He said this would require passing legislation approved in October by the National Constituent Assembly, which dissolves December 31, known as the Anti-Blockade Law for National Development and the Guarantee of Human Rights.
When the law was approved in the Constituent Assembly, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez said it would offer new ways to partner with international investors by providing special protections for their investment so that Venezuela could take a step forward, to go on an economic offensive against the U.S.-led sanctions that are strangling the economy. She said the government would unveil a “basket of projects” for foreign investors in such areas as oil, gas, mining, agriculture, tourism, and “all areas where Venezuela has great potential to generate large-scale investment.”
While in Washington “they speak of human rights,” Rodríguez said, “their policies are aimed at restricting the well-being of an entire nation.”
Imperialist response to victory of Bolivarian forces
As expected, the results of the election have not been recognized by governments entangled in the multi-pronged U.S. war against Venezuela that continues trying to force a parallel “president” and “government” on the people in defiance of their expressed will. The U.S. has made it clear that the next step in its regime change playbook requires deeming the opposition-controlled National Assembly whose term ends January 5, 2021 — the one Juan Guaidó presided over briefly, forming the basis of his fabricated presidency — to be the country’s only “legitimate” legislative body. Not long after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the election as “rigged” and a charade, Canada and the Lima Group (with the exception of Argentina and Uruguay), Britain and the leadership of the European Union, in a servile fashion issued their own versions of the same thing
Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, for example, said in a statement released on December 6 before the results of the election were known: “Canada does not recognize the results of Venezuela’s December 6 electoral process because the process did not meet the minimum conditions for a free and fair exercise of democracy.” He then called for new presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in keeping with standards that presumably the U.S. and its Organization of American States, Canada and the Lima Group embody and are in a position to give lessons about!
Former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who was in Venezuela to observe the election, and has facilitated numerous negotiation attempts between the government of Nicolás Maduro and opposition forces that the U.S. invariably intervened to torpedo, said the elections must end the unfair and incomprehensible sanctions against Venezuela. “The policy of sanctions and non-recognition could lead us to the greatest absurdity in the history of International Law,” he warned.
The advice was lost on the Trudeau government in Canada and the others however, with the EU announcing new sanctions against certain Venezuelan officials this week.
U.S. “multilateralism that works” applied against Venezuela
Speaking to the 50th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in October, Mike Pompeo called the organization an example of “multilateralism that actually works.” What he meant by that became apparent as he proceeded to give the governments of other countries their marching orders, as if they were all U.S. vassal states. First on the list of his government’s “expectations,” he said, was that that all member states not recognize past or future elections of “the illegitimate Maduro regime.”
On December 9 a special meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS was held at the request of Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the U.S. and a number of other countries to “consider the political situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the context of the parliamentary elections held by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro.”
At the meeting a resolution in line with what would be expected of the U.S. and its Lima Group was passed by 20 member states with two opposed, five abstaining and six Caribbean countries and Nicaragua not in attendance. The resolution claimed the “fraudulent” election was held for the purpose of eliminating “the only legitimate and democratically elected institution remaining in Venezuela.” It said that the installation of those elected would further destroy democracy, the rule of law and aggravate all other problems that affect the everyday life of Venezuelans. In other words, the U.S. would be forced to continue intensifying its cruel war of attrition against Venezuela.
The resolution praised the contrived “popular consultation” held over the the past week by the Juan Guaidó-Leopoldo López faction, in which they asked Venezuelans at home and abroad to answer a set of leading questions that seek to show the people do not recognize the results of the December 6 election and ask “the international community” to do the same; and furthermore, that they “order” the necessary steps taken to get “the international community” to intervene to “rescue our democracy, address the humanitarian crisis and protect the people from crimes against humanity.”
After asserting that the December 6 election was allegedly neither free nor fair “in accordance with the conditions established in international law” and other democratic norms the governments of the U.S., Canada and their pathetic Lima Group claim to uphold, the counter-revolutionary resolution also called for “holding, as soon as possible, free, fair, transparent and legitimate presidential and parliamentary elections.”
But it was not all smooth sailing for the U.S. and Canada. A number of countries that voted in favour of the resolution made a point of stating that their positive vote did not imply agreement with continuing to recognize the outgoing National Assembly when its term lapses in January as the U.S. is calling for.
Argentina’s Ambassador to the OAS Carlos Raimundi, who abstained on the vote, was one who took that stand. He said it would be a violation of Venezuela’s constitution to continue recognizing the expired legislature. He also said his government was committed to facilitating the search for a political solution in Venezuela through dialogue, and that the electoral path was the only viable one for renewing the country’s institutions. Raimundi said it was wrong to ignore the will of those who took part in the election and dictate conditions from outside without contributing even minimally to the elections, or worse, pushing for them to be boycotted. He then called for the policy of sanctions and non-recognition to be reconsidered, saying it had led nowhere.
An honourable stand was taken by Mexico’s Ambassador Luz Elena Baños, who along with Bolivia’s representative, voted against the resolution. Her words also represented many if not all those who stayed away from the meeting. She sharply denounced the undemocratic and intolerant behaviour that has prevailed for some time inside the OAS, where an exclusive group of countries come up with the resolution without consulting all members. Baños condemned the resolution as interventionist, saying the role of the OAS was not to recognize or not recognize governments. The approach of these countries that do not even oppose sanctions, she said, is against multilateralism, which is supposed to try and solve problems based on international law, not block the possibility of negotiating.
When Canada’s Ambassador Hugh Adsett took the floor, he spuriously accused the Venezuelan “regime” of committing crimes against humanity “against all who dissent, in order to maintain its grip on power.” He uttered weasel words about Canada wanting to work along with Venezuelans and other members of the OAS to help them solve their problems. He imposed as the condition for working together the holding of what Canada and the OAS would recognize as “free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections.”
The hypocrisy of the Trudeau Liberals has no bounds. Their actions do not speak for Canadians who they have never consulted about the dirty war they are engaged in against the Venezuelan people and others around the world targeted by the U.S. and NATO for regime change and destabilization. Instead of interfering in the affairs of the Venezuelan people at the behest of the narrow private interests which are favoured by the removal of a Bolivarian government, the Trudeau government should instead concern itself with the lack of democratic conditions in its own house and the Canadian people’s demands for decision-making power at home.
1. In favour: Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Lucia, Uruguay, United States. The illegal “Venezuelan” delegation also voted in favour.
Against: Bolivia, Mexico
Abstained: Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname
Absent: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.
(Photos: J. Escalona, C. Floria)
TML Weekly, December 12, 2020 – No. 48