On December 3, thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas against a meeting of the right-wing governments of the region on possible new sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic. The ministerial meeting of right-wing countries was considering the measures through the application of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR).
The meeting was held in Bogota, Colombia. Foreign ministers of various right-wing governments aligned with US foreign policy, such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Paraguay, and a representative of the self-proclaimed ‘interim president of Venezuela’ Juan Guaidó, among others, attended the meeting.
The signatory countries approved a range of sanctions that will affect president Nicolás Maduro, his ministers and their families. The countries agreed to ban 29 Venezuelan leaders from traveling within their borders. In addition, those 29 people and their families will not be able to open any bank account in any of these countries.
The list of banned diplomats includes President Maduro, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and the president of the National Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello, among others.
What is TIAR?
The TIAR was signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in September 1947. It was imposed on the region by the United States at the beginning of the Cold War. It has a similar logic to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), wherein any attack on a country on the continent would be considered as an attack on the US and its allies, and a justification to respond militarily.
On September 11 this year, in an assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), Guaidó’s representative, Gustavo Tarre Briceño, with support from the Donald Trump’s administration, proposed TIAR’s activation against Venezuela to end the “usurpation of power” by Maduro. The proposal was passed with 12 votes in favor, 5 abstentions and 1 absence. Its activation provides a legal justification for foreign military intervention, economic sanctions and commercial blockade.
“No to TIAR”
The people of Venezuela who support their constitutionally elected president Maduro have, however, condemned the meeting held in Bogota, and aggression by the Colombian government led by president Iván Duque. The Colombian state, in complicity with the US government, has made constant attempts to threaten the peace and stability of Venezuela at its border with the country.
Arreaza, the foreign minister of Venezuela, Cabello, the president of the National Constituent Assembly, and Freddy Bernal, the national coordinator of the Local Committee of Supply and Production (CLAP), were among the political leaders who addressed the people at the march in Caracas. They expressed their gratitude to the revolutionary citizens of Venezuela for standing strong in the face of constant aggression and for defending the Bolivarian Revolution.
Foreign minister Arreaza thanked president Maduro in his speech for deciding to withdraw Venezuela from the Organization of American States (OAS). “We don’t owe it anything, we have no obligations, neither with the OAS nor with the TIAR,” he said.
The TIAR has failed and is not applicable to Venezuela because Venezuela is neither a part of the OAS nor of the TIAR. In May 2013, the Venezuelan State denounced this instrument. The denunciation is an established mechanism to cease the international commitments acquired by the state. Therefore, from the legal point of view, its provisions for the country can no longer be invoked.
The OAS has been condemned by several progressive governments for serving the imperialist interests of the United States against the socialist and progressive projects in the region. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela officially left the OAS in April, 2019.
At the Caracas Military Circle, president Maduro said that the TIAR meeting had failed. “The meeting of the TIAR has failed, no one meddles in Venezuela. It has been a meeting of puppets and clowns, they have not been able to keep up with Venezuela. I repudiate Iván Duque’s speech. Iván Duque has been rejected by 80% of the Colombian population and now he wants to divert attention from the immense political, economic and social crisis that Colombia is facing. The people of Colombia have been organizing against Iván Duque for 13 days,” said Maduro.