UNASUR has sponsored the initiative proposed by Maduro. It invited ex-presidents José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain, Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic, and Martín Torrijos of Panama to facilitate dialogue. Leaders of the opposition political parties initially supported this process of dialogue, but they did not attend the most recently scheduled meeting.
On June 1, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) submitted a request for the convening of a special session of the Permanent Council of OAS (see “Economic and media war against Venezuela” 6/9/2016). The 114-page request can be interpreted as an attempt to disrupt the incipient national dialogue and create a process of OAS intervention in favor of the opposition. OAS has a purpose different from that of the recently formed organizations of Latin American and Caribbean unity, which consist only of nations of Latin America and the Caribbean. OAS was established by the United States in 1948 for the purpose of institutionalizing the cooperation by Latin American and Caribbean governments in US neocolonial domination (see “Pan-Americanism and OAS” 10/2/2013).
The Seventh Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), held in Havana from June 2 to June 4, issued a Special Communication over Venezuela on June 4. The Communication noted the efforts at dialogue by the Venezuelan government, through the auspices of UNASUR. And it backed the initiative of the three ex-presidents of Spain, the Dominican Republic and Panama, supported by UNASUR, to reopen dialogue between the government and the opposition. Founded in 1994, the Association of Caribbean States is formed by twenty-five Caribbean nations. It seeks to establish cooperation among the Caribbean nations with respect to problems of common concern, such as climate change; and with respect to projects of mutual benefit, such as multi-destiny tourism.
On June 6, the Secretary General of UNASUR sent a communication to the Table for Democratic Unity (MUD), the organization that represents the various opposition parties. The UNASUR message called upon the opposition to reincorporate itself into the previously agreed upon national dialogue as soon as possible. MUD responded with a request that the meeting be postponed.
At the Fifth Extraordinary Session of Foreign Ministers of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Treaty of Commerce of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP), held in Caracas, Venezuela, the Ministers emitted on June 8 a “Special Declaration in Support of democratic institutions, dialogue and peace in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.” The Declaration noted that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is committed to the defense of democratic institutions and is determined to guarantee human rights. It expressed “the need to fully respect the inalienable right of any state to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, as an essential condition for ensuring that nations live together peacefully.” And the Declaration noted “the illegitimate attempt to apply the Democratic Charter against Venezuela by the Secretary General of OAS, Luis Almagro, with the intention of bringing about an intervention against the constitutional government of said country.” The Declaration proceeded to express eight resolutions, including the following. (1) “We demand absolute respect for the sovereignty of Venezuela, emphasizing the principles of non-interference, self-determination, and the right to exercise the constitutional, political, economic and social system that its people have developed for themselves.” (2) “We back the Constitutional Government of President Nicolás Maduro Moros.” (3) “We support the initiative of national dialogue proposed by President Nicolás Maduro, under the auspices of UNASUR.” (4) “We reject the conduct of Mr. Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, who . . . has assumed an interventionist role in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”
ALBA is a regional association of states that is the most advanced expression of Latin American and Caribbean unity and integration. Its members include Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and several Caribbean island nations. It was proposed in 2001 by Venezuelan resident Hugo Chavez, and it was formally initiated in 2004 by an agreement between Venezuela and Cuba.
We have seen that the Right in Venezuela has attempted to create a humanitarian crisis and civil disorder, with the intention of creating a situation that would justify foreign intervention (see “Economic and media war against Venezuela” 6/9/2016). It has been driven by a desire to bring to an end the control of the government of Venezuela by the Bolivarian Revolution, which has given priority to the sovereignty of the nation and the needs of the people, overriding the particular interests of the wealthy and the traditional ruling class and their international allies. The Bolivarian government of Venezuela has responded to this situation with a call to national dialogue, believing that it can address any demand of substance. The Right initially responded by accepting the proposal for dialogue, but now may be retreating from a commitment to dialogue, as a result of the disruptive strategy of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, But the government of Venezuela and the majority of nations of the region are supporting the proposal of the Maduro government for national dialogue.
The conflict over Venezuela makes evident the difference in purpose and objectives between, on the one hand, an association of states formed with imperialist objectives by a neocolonial power (OAS); and on the other hand, associations of states formed for the purpose of mutual benefit on a basis of solidarity and mutual respect (ACS, ALBA, and UNASUR). The former seeks to preserve the hegemony of a neocolonial power in an unsustainable neocolonial world-system; the latter are seeking to construct an alternative, more just and democratic world-system.
Key words: ALBA, UNISUR, ACS, OAS, Maduro, Venezuela