The Non-Aligned Movement, UNASUR, and CELAC Stand with Venezuela Against Latest US Sanctions

At the request of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, a special commission representing the two largest unions of Latin American nations convened yesterday in Uruguay to analyze the latest sanctions imposed by the United States government against Venezuela.

By Zoe Dutka
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Presidents meeting at the Non-Aligned Summit in 2012. The 17th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement is to be held in Caracas in 2015.
(Photo: Presidency of India)
Presidents meeting at the Non-Aligned Summit in 2012. The 17th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement is to be held in Caracas in 2015. (Photo: Presidency of India)

Santa Elena de Uairen, February 10th, 2015. (venezuelanalysis.com)- At the request of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, a special commission representing the two largest unions of Latin American nations convened yesterday in Uruguay to analyze the latest sanctions imposed by the United States government against Venezuela.

On February 2, the US State Department foisted visa restrictions and financial sanctions on current and former Venezuelan officials it accuses of human rights violations. 

Members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) including the foreign ministers of Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia, as well the UNASUR Secretary General, Ernesto Samper, indicated that part of yesterday’s efforts were to establish a direct dialogue between Caracas and Washington.

Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patiño told reporters that the sanctions “warrant[ed] an immediate reaction from UNASUR and that is why we met.” 

“We hope our actions will promote peace, concord and dialogue and…. prevent countries outside the region from disturbing peace and stability in our countries,” Patiño said.

Samper, for his part, emphasized that all UNASUR members would unanimously reject any attempt to destabilize a member state, and previously announced the organization would be launching an investigation into claims that the White House is actively interfering in Venezuelan affairs. 

The Non-Aligned Movement, a group of 120 nations currently presided over by Iran, has also condemned the latest set of US sanctions as a further attempt “to undermine Venezuela's sovereignty, its political independence and its right to self-determination.”

These are the second set of sanctions upheld by the Venezuelan Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act, passed by US House of Representatives and signed by president Barack Obama in December. The bill was presented as a punitive response to the Venezuelan government’s conduct in the face of a wave of violent anti-government protests that left 43 dead and tens of millions of dollars of property damage in its wake, last February. 

Even though the tactics adopted by militant protestors at that time were widely condemned both regionally and abroad, the White House maintains that the manifestations themselves were peaceful and in defense of democracy, and accuses Venezuelan authorities of violating protestors’ rights

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