Time for Latin America & the Caribbean to come first

Photo: SAG

The policy of “America first” defended by the current U.S. administration constitutes a declaration of principles.

If Washington once fantasized about a world in its own image and likeness, in which progress would spread to countries that did not challenge its hegemony, it is now clear that there is only room for one country at the top. And anyone who disputes U.S. dominance must face “fire and fury.”

What can Latin America and the Caribbean expect of their northern neighbor? The next meeting of the continent’s heads of state, in mid-April in Lima, Peru, will be an opportunity to see.

With the opening of the 8th Summit of the Americas – an initiative of Bill Clinton’s administration to promote free trade – a month off, the White House must prepare the ground.

OAS Council meeting in Washington

This is the task of Vice President Mike Pence today, during the Organization of American States Council meeting in Washington, where he will offer an unusual speech on his government’s priorities in relation to the continent.

Pence will be the first U.S. Vice President to address the body since Democrat Al Gore did so in 1994, reflecting the lack of importance Washington gives this “council of colonies,” except when the U.S. is looking to attack or promote coups in sovereign countries.

U.S. officials have already announced plans to redouble aggression against Venezuela, with the overthrow of its government an obsession for this administration, as it attempts to extend an olive branch to others countries in the region and soften its offences.

Summit in Lima

The Summit in Lima will be the first time Trump comes face to face with his Latin American and Caribbean counterparts, who still hold fresh in their memories the xenophobic rhetoric he used in his 2016 election campaign; his threats to make Mexico pay for a border wall; his description of Haiti and El Salvador as “shithole countries” and immigrants from the region as “murderers and rapists.”

As Pence speaks to the OAS in Washington, meeting in Lima will be representatives of civil society from across the continent, in what is being called a Hemispheric Dialogue, to address issues like forced disappearances, neoliberal austerity measures, lay-offs and pension cuts, murders of journalists, corruption, and the “soft” coups taking place in our region.

Simultaneously in Cuba, a Thinking the Americas Forum will take on the challenge of addressing the diversity and richness of Cuban civil society in times of change, to pave the way for a prosperous and sustainable socialism.

Three events in three distinct locations, at a key moment in the region, again facing the confrontation of two Americas, two different historical projects, on the same continent.

As our emancipators did 200 years ago, this appears to be the time to say: “Latin America and the Caribbean first.”

Honduras: Zelaya Says OAS ‘Two-faced; UN is ‘Divisive’

Source:  TeleSUR
March 12 2018

oas two facedOpposition presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla greets his supporters
during a protest against President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa,
Honduras February 23, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is calling for an “urgent” meeting with the United Nations.

RELATED:  Honduras: Over 2,000 Nasralla Supporters Protest at UN Building

In a Twitter communique, the former president is calling for a meeting on March 13 with United Nations mediators leading dialogues between the opposition and the Honduran government.

Zelaya says that during the previous two meetings the U.N. mediators have been “divisive” and have “ignored the Nov. 26 Electoral Coup; the state of the nation; the assassinations at the hands of the repressive armed forces; and the taking of political prisoners.”

In his statement, the secretary general says that the opposition’s conditions – electoral reforms and an independent investigation into the presidential elections that the Opposition Alliance say were riddled with irregularities – have not been addressed.

The U.N. must “promote dialogue without traps,” accusing U.N. mediators of being aligned with the current president Juan Orlando Hernandez.

In a Twitter announcement from Friday, Zelaya accused Luis Almagro of the Organization of American States (OAS) of being “two-faced” for promising to push for fresh presidential elections in Honduras when, according to Zelaya, “he always had his agenda set to recognize” Hernandez as president, “ignoring, with complete cynicism, the assassinations committed by the regime.”

The crisis erupted after the electoral authorities awarded the Nov. 26 presidential victory to Hernandez, who ran for a controversial reelection after the first vote counts gave an advantage to the candidate of the Opposition Alliance Salvador Nasralla.

The aftermath of the election saw large opposition demonstrations which were confronted by a brutal government crackdown that left more than 35 dead and hundreds of prisoners, according to human rights organizations.

After the electoral result, the Opposition Alliance called for a “popular revolt” and Nasralla said the president was elected through “fraudulent” actions by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and thus he did not recognize the presidency of Hernandez, who was sworn in on Jan. 27 for a second consecutive term.

The U.N. mission is composed of Guatemalan Catalina Soberanis, Salvadoran Carlos Vergara, an expert in conflict resolution, and U.S. consultant Marcie Mersky, of the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Neither Almagro or the U.N. mission have responded to Zelaya’s accusations or requests.

Antigua Supports Venezuela, Withdraws from OAS Summit of the Americas

Source:  TeleSUR
March 9 2018

Sanders said the government of Venezuela was excluded from participation without any prior explanation or discussion by the member-states.

ronald saunders antiguaSir Ronald Sanders, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the OAS, addressing the Permanent Council. | Photo: OAS

Antigua and Barbuda did not participate in the second preparatory meeting for the Summit of the Americas yesterday as it joined the list of countries protesting Venezuela’s exclusion from the Summit scheduled to be held in Lima, Peru in April.

RELATED:   Colombia Leftist Candidate Denounces Electoral Violence at OAS

Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), which is responsible for the preparation of the meeting, explained that Antigua and Barbuda withdrew from the meeting on the point of principle.

Sanders said the government of Venezuela was excluded from participation without any prior explanation or discussion by the member-states of the OAS at any level.

Sanders noted that “Venezuela’s exclusion from the second preparatory meeting was curious because it had been a full and constructive participant in the first meeting a few weeks ago.”

Commenting on Peru’s, the host country for the summit, move to disinvite Venezuela’s President Nicolas, he said: “While the host country traditionally has been able to invite attendance by a high representative of a county that is not a member state, it is not acceptable to reject a sitting member-state of the Organization which plans and executes the meeting”.

He added: “I want to make it clear that our stand is on behalf of all member states, not Venezuela alone.  If this is allowed to occur, then any member state of the OAS could be excluded from a Summit meeting or a general assembly meeting at the sole behest of the host country”.

The country’s Deputy Head of Mission to the OAS, Joy-Dee Davis, said following Sanders’ statement and before withdrawing from the meeting: “Antigua and Barbuda does not know of, nor has it participated in, any official decision of the Summit of the Americas, the OAS General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Affairs or of the Permanent Council to disenfranchise any active Member State from these meetings. We find this precedent of unilateral exclusion appalling and unacceptable … Therefore, on that basis and until this situation is rectified, Antigua and Barbuda regrets that it cannot participate in the meeting.”

The governments of Ecuador, Dominica, Cuba, Uruguay, and Bolivia have already expressed their opposition to excluding Venezuela from the summit.

roosevelt skerrit 4.jpegDominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit criticized Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kusczinki for overstepping his boundaries and excluding Venezuela from the international meeting. “The president of Peru has no authority to suspend the invitation to a member country; he only has the status of host country, but not authority,” he told teleSUR English.

Ecuadorean Vice PresidentMaria Alejandra Vicuna, has said: “It’s important that Venezuela be present to hear the different positions on its problems, and above all, the recommendations and the suggestions. We will never be in favor of intervention of any kind, much less military.”

Ariel Bergamino, uruguay.jpgUruguay’s interim Foreign MinisterAriel Bergaminosaid his government opposes the decision by the Lima Group to disinvite Venezuela. “The Lima Group doesn’t have a juridical status nor an established institutionality. It has expressed itself, but we are not a part of it,” he said.

He went on to highlight that “this environment of tension and exasperation has only one victim and that is the Venezuelan society. We must try to help Venezuelans reconcile and overcome their problems. Uruguay is always willing to help, to create areas to help resolve their problems peacefully, but always within the law.”

evo morales 26.jpgBolivian President Evo Morales reiterated his country’s solidarity with Venezuela and criticized the United States’ role in excluding Venezuela from the Summit.

“We reject that a minority of countries directed by Trump’s interventionist obsession wants to turn the Summit of the Americas into a coup instrument against Venezuela. Attacking a president democratically elected is attacking the people who elected him,” Morales said via Twitter in February.

Latin America Rejects OAS Call to Cancel Venezuela Elections

Source:  TeleSUR
February 23 2018

nicolas maduro feb 2018The date for Venezuela’s presidential elections was set after the opposition
refused to sign an agreement with the government. | Photo: Reuters

Venezuelan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for North America Samuel Moncada accused the OAS of promoting violence and destabilization.

VenezuelaNicaraguaBolivia, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador have rejected a resolution by the Organization of American States (OAS) requiring Venezuela to cancel its planned April 22 presidential elections.

RELATED:  Nicaragua Rejects ‘Political Intolerance’ Against Venezuela

Late Friday, Venezuelan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for North America Samuel Moncada accused the OAS of promoting violence and destabilization in the Latin American nation.

Speaking from OAS headquarters, Moncada – also a United Nations representative – said the organization was trying to install a government that would bow to the interests of the United States.

“We reject this new aggression by a group of OAS states that persist in seeking to protect Venezuela in flagrant violation of international law, disrespect for the sovereignty and self-determination of peoples,” Moncada told the Permanent Council of the OAS.

He also rejected the resolution proposed by Mexico and the United States for Venezuela to reconsider the presidential elections.

A formal statement issued earlier on Friday and presented by Nicaragua’s First Lady and Vice-President Rosario Murillo said: “The government of Nicaragua ratifies its invariable, principled position on respect for the sovereignty and independence of States and peoples.”

The statement went on to reiterate the Daniel Ortega administration’s “support for Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian people in the defense of its institutions, its legislation and its own, sovereign and independent decisions.”

Ortega had refused to attend the OAS meeting called late Thursday on the grounds that it concerned “interventionist declarations and resolutions” against the Venezuelan government and people.

Luis Alvarado, Nicaragua’s ambassador to the OAS, said the government would not endorse the council or its agenda, which he described as “illegitimate, illegal and violating international law.

The date for Venezuela’s presidential elections was set after the opposition refused to sign an agreement with the government following prolonged dialogue in the Dominican Republic aimed at restoring peaceful relations between the two parties.

The opposition Democratic Unity Table (MUD) has since confirmed it will not take part in the April 22 elections.

Cuba rejects interference and exclusion of Venezuela from Summit of the Americas

Photo: Archive

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba energetically rejects the announcement by a group of nations in the hemisphere, released February 13 in Lima, that constitutes unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic de Venezuela, and at the same time categorically rejects the decision to reconsider the participation of the Venezuelan government in the 8th Summit of the Americas, to be held this coming month of April, in Peru.

A few days ago, the U.S. Secretary of State, on a tour of several countries in the region, stated that continuing in effect is the Monroe Doctrine, the most notorious interventionist policy of U.S. imperialism in our region. He called for a military coup against the constitutional government of Venezuela and advocated strengthening sanctions on the country. The decision adopted is not unrelated to these declarations and actions.

Photo: Archive

In this context, Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalls the arbitrary and aggressive U.S. Executive Order, renewed in January of 2017, that describes Venezuela as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy” of the superpower, and President Donald Trump’s most recent warning about utilizing “a possible military option, if necessary.”

It is unprecedented and incredible that now being used as a pretext is an alleged “unconstitutional rupture of the democratic order,” precisely in a country which has held, within a few months time, municipal, regional, and Constituent Assembly elections, and has just called Presidential elections, precisely as has been demanded, including via external interference and unconstitutional, violent methods.

Cuba denounces this statement and the exclusion of Venezuela from the Summit of the Americas as contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by heads of state and government of countries which are members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

Photo: Archive

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms Cuba’s unwavering solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the military-civic union of its people, led by constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros.

Absolutely relevant are the words of Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, on July 14, 2017, when he said, “Aggression and coup violence against Venezuela hurt all of Our America and only benefit the interests of those who attempt to divide us, in order to assert their dominance over our peoples, regardless of the incalculable consequences for the region, like those we are witnessing in different parts of the world. We warn those who today attempt to overthrow the Bolivarian Chavista revolution, using unconstitutional, violent, coup-plotting methods, that they are assuming a serious, responsibility before history.”

Cuba cannot be defeated

Source:  Granma
February 14 2018

Author:  | internacionales@granma.cu

Once again the Organization of American States (OAS) has demonstrated that rather than working for a more united and prosperous region, it seeks to create divisions and tension between all its member-states.

Cuba will continue along its own path, and as much as submissive and servile lackeys, like the current Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, would like to destroy us, they will never be able to do so.

Rogelio Sierra cuba.jpgThis according to Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rogelio Sierra in response to recent interventionist remarks by Almagro regarding Cuba’s electoral process.
According to Rogelio Sierra, the OAS Secretary General “tried to misrepresent the electoral process underway (in Cuba) in an attempt to de-legitimize it, in a show of support for campaigns against the Cuban Revolution and their allies.”

“The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS),” noted Sierra “has no moral or ethical credibility whatsoever to judge what the Cuban government and people are doing. He is making a big mistake by failing to acknowledge, by ignoring, the Cuban people’s decision to be sovereign and independent,” he stated, in reference to remarks made by Almagro in an event held recently in Miami.

Almagro’s heavily interventionist tone

The main theme of the Secretary General’s speech, with a heavily interventionist tone, was the Cuban electoral process, a subject on which he demonstrated a great lack of understanding.
During his speech Almagro noted that a non-democratic succession of power must not be permitted in Cuba – ignoring the fact that the island has a participative electoral system which ensures that the President of the Councils of State and Ministers is elected with support of the vast majority of the Cuban people. Direct elections are not they only democratic or most effective model, as the former Foreign Minister of Uruguay is well aware.

Almagro also made the most of the occasion to insult the Cuban government, which he described as a “regime” and “dictatorship,” while categorizing the Cuban Revolution as a “dangerous example;” in remarks which contradict those made when he visited the island alongside former President of Uruguay Pepe Mujica. So when was Almagro lying, now or then?

In this regard, the Secretary General of the OAS also mentioned another of his “favorite topics,” Venezuela and the government of Nicolás Maduro, which he described as a “clumsy attempt to replicate the Cuban experience.”
With the Eighth Summit of the Americas, to be held in Peru only months away, Almagro’s speech in Miami comes as he seeks to build support for his interventionist plans against progressive governments in the region.

Thus, once again the Organization of American States (OAS) has demonstrated that rather than working for a more united and prosperous region, it seeks to create divisions and tension between all its member-states, just as Washington intended when the group was founded.

Bolivia condemns US intervention

Bolivian President Evo Morales described Commander of the United States Southern Command Kurt Tidd’s recent visit to the continent, during which he met with Vice President of Colombia Oscar Naranjo, as a threat to peace in Venezuela.
Taking to his Twitter account, Evo stated, “Any imperialist military threat against the peace of the sister nation of Venezuela and our region will be thwarted by the dignity, sovereignty, and unity of our democratic peoples.”

Friends of Venezuela denounce the actions of the OAS Secretary General

Press Release
Friends of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

October 13 2017

WE DENOUNCE  LUIS  ALMAGRO’S LATEST  UNLAWFUL  INTERVENTION  IN  THE  AFFAIRS  OF  VENEZUELA

bolivarian republic of venezuela.jpgFriends of Venezuela denounce the actions of the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro, who, today — the 13th of October 2017 – in Washington DC in the United States of America (USA), purported to swear in the members of a so-called “parallel” Venezuelan Supreme Court, in gross violation of the principles of international law and sovereignty.
Almagro’s actions are nothing less than a gross and offensive attempt to frustrate the Venezuelan people’s peaceful and democratic process !
On the 30th of July 2017 we were all inspired by the Venezuelan people’s courage, when over 8 million people participated in the elections for a National Constituent Assembly, and thereby halted the campaign of orchestrated violence that sectors of the political Opposition forces in Venezuela had inflicted on the nation.
The peace-loving peoples of the world looked on at this spectacle, inspired by the Venezuelan people’s assertion that the only path forward is a democratic and constitutional one.
Today’s unlawful events in Washington, on the other hand, are an ugly and repugnant repudiation of the Venezuelan people’s openly expressed desire for peace and constitutionality, and reflect illicit interference by external forces in the sovereign processes of Venezuela.
While this takes place in Washington D.C., in Venezuela itself, members of the Government, the Opposition and other relevant entities campaign for gubernatorial elections that will take place this Sunday the 15th of October. Furthermore, after many efforts by the Government to establish dialogue, the Venezuelan political opposition has finally agreed to begin talks in a peaceful and lawful manner. In light of this background, one is forced to ask why– at this time of all times– is Almagro carrying out an activity that can only be described as an illegal and destructive intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela?
How can a multilateral organization like the OAS justify swearing in an illegitimate Supreme Court in the territory of a foreign country? This is a travesty beyond all comprehension, and the member states of the OAS would be well advised to take immediate steps to dismiss the organization’s unprincipled and errant Secretary General.
Today’s actions at the OAS disrupt Latin America and the Caribbean’s shared commitment to self-determination and to the sovereign equality of all states, and must be condemned by all right thinking and peace-loving people.
We encourage all Venezuelans to go out and vote in numbers in the gubernatorial elections scheduled for Sunday the 15th of October!
Indeed, we say to the Venezuelan people:- The world celebrates your determination to defend a democratic model that is participatory and protagonist. And we stand with you in safeguarding our region as a Zone for Peace, in keeping with the “Havana Declaration” approved by the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Long live the Bolivarian Republic and the Bolivarian Revolution!

Friends of Venezuela