Caracas, September 17, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Latin American regional blocs, ALBA and PetroCaribe, issued statements this week rejecting foreign government interference in the Venezuelan judiciary’s conviction of far right opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
Lopez was sentenced last week to thirteen years in prison for his role in leading last year’s violent anti-government protests, known as the “barricades,” or guarimba, that led to the death of 43 people, over half of whom were security personnel and passerby.
Following the ruling, representatives of various rightwing governments, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the Chilean Senate, as well as the foreign ministries of Costa Rica, Peru, and Paraguay, publicly assailed the court decision, making accusations regarding the fairness of the trial.
In response, the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALBA) released a statement on Monday opposing the posture of those states that “seek to interfere or intervene in the… judicial decisions adopted in Venezuela by the corresponding public organ.”
The eleven countries that make up the regional bloc also denounced the “double standard” in which foreign governments “attempt to hide the grave human rights violations in their own territories” by attacking Venezuela.
On Tuesday, the nineteen nations conforming PetroCaribe likewise issued a declaration affirming their “policy of respect and of non-intervention in the internal affairs of the nations devoted to our historic struggle for emancipation”.
“We recognize and respect the full exercise of judicial power within a democratic, constitutionally lawful state, such as that of Venezuela, where the competent judicial organ has in exercise of its sovereign jurisdiction, issued a sentence in order to confront terrorist acts and ensure the effective safeguard of the human rights of the victims.”
The declarations by the regional blocs echo an official statement emitted last week by the General Secretary’s office of the Union of South American States (UNASUR) underlining the organization’s “respect for the decisions adopted by the juridical authorities of its member states”.
ALBA was founded in 2004 by Presidents Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro as an alternative to the US-proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, and to promote regional social and economic integration on the basis of solidarity-oriented development.
PetroCaribe was established in 2005 also on the initiative of President Hugo Chávez to provide neighboring Caribbean nations with Venezuelan oil at preferential rates, which is repayed with exports and medium to long-term credit.