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News: International

Venezuelan Government Rejects Possible Intervention in Libya


Mérida, February 28th 2011 ( Following the announcement of sanctions on Libya’s leader Muammar al-Gaddafi by the United Nations (UN) Security Council, yesterday Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro warned against any possible military intervention in the country. President Chavez, commemorating Venezuela’s “Caracazo” massacre, also condemned violence and called for peace in Libya.

Maduro, commenting on the UN deliberations and the announced sanctions, said, “We would be against any military intervention against the Arabic people of Libya and I’m sure that all peoples of the world would support a struggle against any interventionism that some powerful countries would commit against it.”

Given what the Security Council described “mass deaths” committed by the Libyan government, it decided to apply arms sanctions and freeze Gaddafi’s family’s assets, and also ordered a crimes against humanity investigation into the situation.

Maduro said Venezuela’s hope is that the “Arabic people who are in a process of rebellion, seeking a better destiny, find their way to peace.”

“Our people [in Venezuela] have already lived through some very difficult times and, actually, today we are remembering one of the worst [the Caracazo]. But we’ve gone about finding our ways to independence, democracy, and freedom, which in our case has been the construction of socialism.”

On 27 February, 1989 Venezuela’s Armed Forces repressed protests in Caracas, killing between 400 and 1,000 people in what has become known as the “Caracazo”. Yesterday Venezuelans marched in honour of the victims.

“We hope the people of Libya are able to find the way to national re-unification,” Maduro said, suggesting dialogue was the best way towards resolving the conflict in Libya.

“There shouldn’t be anything that justifies military interventionism against the Arabic people. Just as we were against the invasion of Iraq and the massacre of the Palestinian people in Gaza, we would be against any military invasion of Libya,” Maduro concluded.

President Chavez, speaking on national television on Friday, also repeated his rejection of any possible intervention in Libya.

He drew parallels with the media coverage of the coup against himself in 2002 with current treatment of information about Libya, saying that just as the media is accusing Gaddafi now, in 2002 he too was called a “murderer” of his people.

“I can’t say that I support, or that I’m in favour of a decision taken by any friend of mine in any part of the world, because we are far away, but yes we support the government of Libya and the independence of Libya, we want peace for this country and for the peoples of the world,” Chavez said.

He also made similar comments to Maduro regarding the invasion of Iraq, “Those who immediately condemn Libya don’t talk about the bombing by the state of Israel on Fallujah, and the thousands and thousands of deaths including children, women, and whole families. They are quiet about the bombing and massacres in Iraq, in Afghanistan, so they don’t have the right to condemn anyone,”

“We condemn violence, imperialism, and interventionism,” Chavez said. “Everyone knows our position in favour of life...for peace... how we love all peoples, how we love the Arabic people, and how those peoples love us.”

Chavez explained that since the popular rebellions began in North Africa and the Middle East, his government has preferred to maintain “prudent silence... because in the first place, there is a lot of misinformation, not just in the case of Libya but in the case of Egypt we were very prudent...because we’re used to the world media scene.”

He also highlighted the role of Venezuelan initiated Latin American television station, teleSUR in Libya, which has reporters both in Tripoli and in the east of the country where the opposition has control.

During the commemoration of the Caracazo Chavez said it was important that the youth of Venezuela know about what happened twenty-two years ago and don’t “let themselves be manipulated by the [media] campaign of lies.”

“Twenty-two years ago there was a ... massacre [in Venezuela] against an unarmed people, and these opposition leaders who today don’t want to talk about the past, those who attack the revolution every day and conspire against it, are the same ones who ordered that massacre twenty-two years ago,” he said.

Published on Feb 28th 2011 at 9.41pm