Venezuela received strong backing from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Saturday afternoon, at an emergency summit addressing the recent aggressions from US President Barack Obama.
Obama had signed an executive order earlier in the week declaring Venezuela an“extraordinary threat to national security.”
At a press conference following the meeting of the foreign ministers, UNASUR Secretary General Ernesto Samper read out a statement that said, “The member states of UNASUR reject the executive order approved by the United States government which declares Venezuela a threat to national security.”
The statement describes the executive order as an “interference” and a “threat to sovereignty and to the principle of non-intervention.”
"We call upon the United States to evaluate and implement dialogue as an alternative,” adds the statement
“The UNASUR member States believe the internal situation in Venezuela shall be resolved through the democratic mechanisms established in the Venezuelan Constitution”
As a result the 12 nation body called for the “derogation of the Executive Order.”
In an exclusive interview with teleSUR after the statement was released, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said that “UNASUR has stood firm against imperialism,” and that the meeting was “aware of the seriousness” of the threat “not only for Venezuela but for the whole region”.
Referring to the UNASUR statement Minister Rodriguez said that "we know Venezuela is not alone" which she explained was important as "if there were to be an intervention on Venezuela, we wouldn't know when it would move beyond our borders"
She added that “UNASUR ratified the principle of unity, of independence...this meeting was marked by the Latin American spirit of liberty” and that despite any differences between the bloc’s 12 nations “we can agree on the biggest issues.”
Minister Rodriguez described the Executive Order, signed by President Obama as a reflection of a “a political class that does not believe in the principles of international law.” Addressing the claim that Venezuela represents a threat to the United States and carries out human rights abuses, as Obama claimed, the Foreign Minister added that "we see terrible racial discrimination cases (in the U.S.) ... hundreds of human rights violations" and that the U.S. hasn't ratified key international treaties on gender equality or childrens' rights”
She explained that Venezuela seeks an “equal dialogue with the U.S. government."
Earlier UNASUR Secretary General Ernesto Samper had explained that the bloc's aim is to preserve peace and democracy in Latin America.
“The main principles that gave birth to UNASUR were the preservation of this region as a peace zone, the reinforcement of democracy and the guarantee of human rights … those are the three points in which we are and will continue to work on,” he explained.
In recent days, many regional leaders – such as Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez – have rejected and criticized the measure taken by the U.S. government.
Social movements from across the region have also expressed solidarity with the people and the government of Venezuela. Even the main group of opposition parties in Venezuela rejected the claims that Venezuela posed a threat.
UNASUR Statement (Unofficial translation)
The member States of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) manifest their rejection of the Executive Order issued on March 9, 2015 by the government of the United States of America, for it constitutes a threat of interference against sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention in other States' affairs.
The UNASUR Member States ratify their commitment with the application of International Law, Peaceful Resolution of Disputes and the principle of Non-Intervention, and calls upon governments to withhold the use of coercive unilateral measures that violate international law.
UNASUR reiterates its request to the United States' government to evaluate and implement dialogue with Venezuela as an alternative, under the basis of respecting sovereignty and self-determination of the people. Consequently, we request the derogation of the Executive Order.