Mexico City, Mexico, July 4, 2022 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez rejected Chilean Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola’s questioning of the legitimacy of the Nicolás Maduro government, labeling her a stooge of Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro.
During a press conference with her Spanish counterpart in Madrid on Friday, Urrejola reiterated the position of the Gabriel Boric government, saying it “condemns the violation of human rights in Venezuela”. Urrejola further called for the resumption of talks between the government and the US-backed opposition in order for “democratic” elections to be held.
“Foreign Minister [Urrejola], as a good employee of [Almagro], attacks the Bolivarian Revolution instead of addressing the urgent issues of violence in Chile, its economy and a government that is rapidly failing!” said Rodríguez in response, referring to Boric’s declining approval ratings.
Urrejola previously served as OAS’ Rapporteur on Memory, Truth, and Justice from 2018 to 2021, during Almagro’s tenure as secretary general.
In her comments, the Chilean foreign minister claimed that by pursuing a rapprochement with Caracas, the Boric government’s position represented a break with former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera’s policy toward Venezuela. Piñera’s Chile was a founding member of the now defunct Lima Group, an ad-hoc group of countries that sought to oust Maduro from power via regime change operations.
Urrejola, however, made no mention of the US’ severe sanctions regime against the South American nation. Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Héctor Constant Rosales recently criticized the downplaying of the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the country’s human rights situation.
Although the Boric administration does not support the diplomatic isolation of Venezuela, Chile’s policy vis-a-vis Venezuela is largely indistinguishable from Washington’s position. The administration of US President Joe Biden, which similarly views the 2018 re-election of Maduro as fraudulent, has largely maintained Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy toward Venezuela, which included a strict oil embargo on the country. Despite two high-level US government delegations to Caracas, the White House has only slightly loosened some restrictions on the export of Venezuelan oil to European countries.
Boric criticized the decision to exclude Maduro from last month’s Summit of the Americas but the Chilean president opted not to heed a call to boycott the event over the exclusion of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
Despite being widely viewed as part of the wave of leftist governments elected throughout the region, the Boric government has sought to accommodate itself to Washington in foreign policy matters. The former student leader has long tried to distance himself from the Venezuelan president, most recently telling a crowd of Canadian investors that he was not the “next Maduro.”
Chile, joining the United States, Canada, Germany, Ukraine and other European countries, was the only Latin American country to sign a statement from the so-called Media Freedom Coalition condemning Venezuela over an alleged “lack of media freedom”. The Media Freedom Coalition is a group of 52 countries formed in July 2019 that purportedly advocates for media freedom and the safety of journalists, although it seems to largely center its criticisms on countries seen as out of step with Washington and Brussels.
President Boric likewise recently expressed his solidarity with President Volodymyr Zelensky after speaking with the Ukrainian leader by phone, saying that Chile would “support the condemnation of the [Russian] invasion in international organizations.” The US has been engaged in a strenuous diplomatic campaign to have countries explicitly condemn Russia over its military operations in Ukraine.
Urrejola’s visit to Spain came on the heels of the NATO conference in Madrid that was largely focused on the perceived threat of Russia.
For its part, Venezuela has refused to condemn the Russian invasion and has instead worked to strengthen its bilateral relationship with Russia, with Foreign Minister Carlos Faría traveling to Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Monday.
Edited by Ricardo Vaz in Caracas.