The reason for the meeting
In the last four months, the US have tried, through their operative Luis Almagro, to force a resolution from the OAS against Venezuela, which in the first stage would demand early elections and finally, seek regional condemnation of the Venezuelan people’s electoral choices with the installation of the ANC.
Six meetings have been held in which the US objective has failed because the ALBA-Caribe bloc recognizes that dialogue and respect for Venezuelan sovereignty are key principles in any political solution to the crisis.
The US response to this failure has been the formation of an informal, non-binding bloc to generate a base of regional support that favors and extends the scope of US sanctions against Venezuela.
Those who subscribed to the Lima Declaration revealed no significant position change from the last meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS on July 26. Only 12 countries signed the Lima Declaration.
The aggressive pre-war tone towards Venezuela has not succeeded in attracting other countries to expand the cadre of traditional US allies. The latest maneuver aims to bypass regional and international laws using bilateral relations with satellite governments as fronts for political, diplomatic and financial siege.
US sanctions in the recent global picture
In the last three weeks, the US declared a trade war with Russia through financial, military and energy sanctions and reheated conflict with Iran with new sanctions. Both unilateral measures are detrimental to the economic interests of the European Union. They were interpreted internationally as a retaliation for the US failure in Syria and Qatar. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU would oppose the US if sanctions affect the transfer of vital energy resources for the European continent. On 6 August, the nuclear agreement between Iran and the G5 + 1 was ratified. This was the European Union’s response to new sanctions imposed against Iran by the United States.
The use of unilateral actions in these two cases is repeated in Venezuela: in the absence of global or regional consensus, the US use coercive measures that violate international law and negatively affect their own diplomatic position.
Perhaps the defining feature today, at least in the European case, is that they are not willing to sacrifice their interests, and this reveals a great deal about their loyalties to the US.
The Lima Declaration: ten key facts
1. Although in its introductory paragraph it announces that it was the product of a debate, the Declaration of Lima bears the stamp and signature of the US State Department, declaring the ANC “illegitimate”, as State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert did at a press conference on Aug. 4. That same position was emphasized again by Ricardo Luna, chancellor of Peru, who added that a consensus was reached that President Nicolás Maduro is “dictator”.
2. This ignorance of the ANC unveils the political basis of US strategy. As the ANC takes steps to reorganize the state, address victim reparations, adjudicate criminal and political responsibilities for crimes committed against the population through the Truth Commission, the Lima group is to be used by the US to increase political pressure and support for violent actions on the streets and an intervention scenario.
3. Regarding the point of the Declaration that supports the National Assembly, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray commented that the signatory governments will only recognize contracts that have been approved by the National Assembly and not by the Constituent Assembly, according to El Comercio.
In light of this statement, the Lima group is tasked with damaging any international financial agreements that could be implemented by the ANC, using the rupture of selective diplomatic and economic relations to inhibit the market and limit imports of basic goods. The agenda is to prevent Venezuela’s economic recovery and prolong the excesses of inflation, with the aim of fueling public discontent for violent purposes as dictated by the corollary of the color revolutions applied in Ukraine, Libya and Syria . This also encourages the National Assembly to establish itself as a “parallel government”.
4. One item calls for a halt to the transfer of arms to Venezuela based on Articles 6 and 7 of the UN Arms Treaty . Venezuela is neither in an internationally recognized armed conflict nor engaged in committing crimes against humanity. Thus this motion suggests that the armed attacks, the acts of sabotage and other strategies of asymmetric war, will limit access of arms to the state to defend itself and the population. While the call itself is non- binding, is could give rise to the United States pressing the issue at the UN.
5. This statement follows a previous aggressive statement (3 August) of the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (former general manager of ExxonMobil), in which he affirmed the need to create the conditions for President Nicolás Maduro’s removal from power. Along with Tillerson, the vanguard against Venezuela consists of paramilitaries experienced in dirty war tactics and mafiosos politicians like HR McMaster, John Kelly (ex- head of the Southern Command and present chief of cabinet) and Marco Rubio (senator who created the sanctions against Venezuela), who are shaping US policy towards Venezuela, far from diplomacy and politics, and quite close to the war by unconventional (paramilitary) methods.
6. Within the framework of this policy outlined by the US, there is no mention of the regional elections as a political option to resolve the conflict. It is argued that the violent opposition will remain active until “democracy” returns, denying the fact that the next election is in itself a reaffirmation of Venezuelan democracy.
7. The Declaration;s anti-Chavism is clear, where the only option recognized and pursued would be the prolongation and non-resolution of the conflict and institutional fracture. The strategy surpasses national actors who attempt by means of electoral channels or dialogue to stop violence, and framed within this corporate global plan is the complete destruction of the Venezuelan state the nation-state, which has the greatest amount of strategic economic resources in the region.
8. The Declaration calls on the presidency of CELAC (El Salvador) to postpone the Celac-EU Summit scheduled for October 2017. Both Venezuela and Caribbean countries have expressed that CELAC is a propitious space to gather support for dialogue in the country. Parallel to the meeting in Lima, the Sixth Extraordinary Meeting of the Political Council of ALBA-TCP was held in Caracas, where the call for dialogue was reaffirmed and foreign intervention was condemned.
9. A hybrid war is currently being implemented in the country, using asymmetric tactics: economic and financial sabotage (blockade), psychological and propaganda operations, and armed attacks against military personnel and the civilian population. Diplomacy serves as a tool within this framework, to support and deepen international aggressions.
10. The US is the master of these maneuvers against Venezuela. However, the US is at a global geopolitical crossroads. As they progress in their strategy of blockade and international siege, Venezuela will deepen alliances with Russia, China and Iran: the geopolitical bloc that is currently defeating the US.