UNASUR and NAM back Venezuela's Maduro, US Maintains Support for Capriles

The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) yesterday recognised the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, ahead of his inauguration today. 

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
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In his capacity as president of the NAM Coordinating Bureau, Ambassador of Iran to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee has issued a statement of support for Maduro's presidency (Scott Eells/Bloomberg)
In his capacity as president of the NAM Coordinating Bureau, Ambassador of Iran to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee has issued a statement of support for Maduro's presidency (Scott Eells/Bloomberg)

Mérida, 19th April 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) yesterday recognised the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, ahead of his inauguration today.

After yesterday's three hour meeting in Lima, Peru, this morning UNASUR released a statement  that the organisation “congratulated President Nicolas Maduro for ... his election as president”.

All eight heads of state present at the meeting recognised the outcome of Venezuela's April 14 presidential elections, though Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and Peru's Ollanta Humala both expressed concern over the threat of political instability in Venezuela.

In its statement today, UNASUR “urges all sectors involved in the electoral process to respect the official results of the presidential election.”

Humala has further stated that “any claim” or “question” regarding the results of the election “should be...resolved within the existing legal order”.

However, the UNASUR statement also welcomed “the decision of the CNE to implement a system that permits a full audit of election results”.

Venezuela's foreign minister, Elias Jaua described the statement as “a reaffirmation of what we have advocated for in Venezuela.”

“We are pleased by the important support of the international community for democracy, peace and stability and recognition of Nicolas Maduro as president of Venezuela…Respect for the popular will is nonnegotiable,” Jaua said.

As he returned from Peru, Maduro tweeted, “Great success at Unasur Meeting in Lima”.

Within hours of the UNASUR meeting, the 120 nations of the NAM endorsed a separate statement of support for Maduro. Issued by the president of the NAM Coordinating Bureau Mohammad Khazaee, the document calls for stability and a ceccastion of violence.

“Venezuela, under [Maduro's] presidency, [will] continue to contribute to the consolidation of the unity of the NAM and the joint fight in defense of the principles of the movement,” the document stated.

Representing almost two thirds of United Nations member states, the NAM is comprised of nations unaligned with any major international power bloc. Its members comprise over half the world's population.

Washington Remains Unconvinced

While most of Latin America and the global south now recognise Maduro's presidency, the US has yet to acknowledge the electoral results. However, yesterday US Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that the US now supports an audit of the April 14 vote.

After days of opposition demands for a manual recount, the Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE) and opposition leaders instead agreed to a 100% audit late last night.54% of votes had already been audited last Sunday after voting.

Kerry supported the deal, stating that an audit would show if the outcome of the elections “has been fairly arrived at”.

Previously, Washington backed Venezuelan opposition calls for a manual recount; a process described by Venezuela's high court chief Luisa Estella Morales as “impossible” due to the level of automation of the electoral system.

Since the announcement of Maduro's victory in the polls on Sunday, opposition leader Henrique Capriles has made a series of unsubstantiated accusations that the CNE and government committed electoral fraud.

After expressing his support for the audit, Capriles has since called for more anti-government demonstrations.

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