He reiterated that seeking reconciliation in Venezuela is an ANC task; hence, it will work to establish order in the country.’
He reiterated that seeking reconciliation in Venezuela is an ANC task; hence, it will work to establish order in the country.’
The Mexican Solidarity Movement with Cuba demanded the United States lift the blockade against socialist government Saturday, marching to the U.S. embassy in Mexico City.
MMSC denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to reverse a diplomatic opening between the two countries. The group’s leader Jesus Escamilla stated that Mexicans reject the U.S. blockade and demand Trump lift it and move to normalize relations with the Caribbean island.
Trump’s man for South America has promised robust measures against Venezuela but refused to give details in a White House briefing Tuesday.
Fernando Cutz, the director for South America of Donald Trump’s National Security Council, told journalists that no decision has yet been taken on new sanctions against Venezuela, so he was not prepared to discuss specific actions or the names of individuals or entities that might be targeted. Cutz was answering questions from the media in a telephone briefing after President Trump threatened to take “strong and swift economic action” if the Venezuelan government continues with elections for a Constituent Assembly on July 30.
The Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez stated in a press conference Wednesday that the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela strongly rejects the interference of western powers in the internal affairs of the country.
“The FANB categorically rejects the alliance of governments operating against the nation and repudiates as firmly as possible the statements of (U.S. President Donald) Trump who, in an affront to Venezuela has dared to threaten the Venezuelan people with imposing economic sanctions on the government if it goes ahead with its Constituent Assembly. It is a shameless and vile statement that represents clear meddling in the internal affairs of the country.”
The minister also denounced the opposition that calls its supporters into the streets, leading to violence that “sets people on fire, attacks medical and educational centers, and attempts to destroy cities.”
Stating the firm anti-imperialist character of the armed forces, Padrino called on the military to close ranks against these interventionists attacks.
The military official also described how forces will be deployed starting Friday to distribute electoral equipment to the over 14,000 polling centers in the country ahead of the CNA vote on July 30.
Vice President Tareck El Aissami also denounced Trump’s interventionist plans, stating that the civic-military alliance will be activated on July 21 to ensure the safe and free participation of the Venezuelan people during the vote.
The statement came after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro led a session of the National Defense Council Tuesday night at the Miraflores Presidential Palace aimed at developing strategies to defend Venezuela’s sovereignty after Trump promised “swift and strong actions” if Venezuela decided to proceed with elections for the National Constituent Assembly.
Maduro criticized Trump’s threats as “vulgar,” arguing “the process of the constituent assembly is already in the hands of the people who will exercise their right to vote.”
“This is my response, the constituent assembly does not belong to me. On July 16 the people said this constituent assembly belongs to me,” added Maduro, referring to the historic dry run vote where million
Maduro’s call for the National Defense Council after the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry in a statement rejected the U.S. government’s “unbelievable” comments on Venezuela that “shows its absolute bias towards the violent and extremist sectors of Venezuelan politics, which favor the use of terrorism to overthrow a popular and democratic government.”
The ministry was referring to a statement issued Monday by President Donald Trump, who said, “If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions.”
Trump’s threats were repeated by the U.S. State Department which released a statement calling on “the Government of Venezuela to abandon the proposed National Constituent Assembly. ”
“The thin democratic veil of the Venezuelan opposition has fallen, and it reveals the brutal interventionist force of the U.S. government, which has been behind the violence suffered by the Venezuelan people in the last four months. It is not the first time that we denounce and confront threats as ludicrous as those contained in this unbelievable document,” the statement added.
The document called on the people of the world to defend sovereignty, self-determination and independence.
“The National Constituent Assembly will be elected by the direct, universal, and secret ballot of all Venezuelans, under the authority of the National Electoral Council, as contemplated in our legal framework. It is an act of political sovereignty of the Republic, nothing and no one can stop it. The Constituent Assembly will go on!” the statement concluded.
The threats come after record high numbers turned out to participate in the historic dry run vote for the ANC, which is aimed at easing tensions and creating a more representative constitution. Despite the mass show of public support, the event was largely ignored, as international leaders continued to criticize the Venezuelan government and demand immediate elections.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer called on Miraflores to cancel the ANC and convene “free and fair elections.”
EU diplomat Federica Mogherini likewise urged President Nicolas Maduro to suspend plans to convene the ANC, noting that the move would be “an important gesture” toward de-escalating tensions.
This message was echoed by Spanish President Mariano Rajoy and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who penned an opinion piece for Spanish newspaper El Mundo criticizing the Venezuelan government.
Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro chimed in Tuesday, saying that if the ANC went ahead it would be inappropriate, and he demanded that the assembly be canceled.
Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend dashed hopes that the impending collapse of the Islamic State group might mean the end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, when he said on Tuesday that the United States is “interested” in maintaining a US military presence in Iraq after the eventual defeat of the Islamic State group.
“I would anticipate that there will be a coalition presence here after the defeat of the Islamic State group,” the general said on Tuesday. “This fight is far from over… there’s still hard work to be done.”
He said decisions over post Islamic State group plans for a U.S. presence in the country are in a “final decision-making” stage.
He claimed that US coalition forces were needed to prevent a “replay” of 2011 when U.S. forces began to withdraw from Iraq following a decade of bloody, devastating invasion and occupation. With Iraq left in a destabilized condition, the Islamic State group quickly rose up as a regional power.
According to the newspaper Cubarte of the Ministry of Culture, the document has so far more than 800 signatures of people from 35 countries.
Among the most recent signatories are the legendary Uruguayan troubadour Daniel Viglietti and the Spanish singer Pilar Boyeros, who recently performed in this capital at the Cubadisco Festival.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez slammed U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy reversal against Cuba Monday as a “grotesque spectacle,” arguing that the move will affect U.S. citizens and result in the opposite of what Washington seeks by ultimately strengthening Cuba’s resolve to defend its sovereignty.
Speaking at a press conference in Viena, Rodriguez said the new U.S. policies that restrict travel and trade with Cuba came as a setback for bilateral relations, which have increasingly normalized since a historic thaw began at the end of 2014 after decades of frozen ties. The foreign minister added that the move will “gravely harm foreign policy” and “reinforces our patriotism and our will to defend the Cuban revolution” on the Caribbean island.
“It is unjust, inhumane, genocidal, and against the sovereignty of all states,” Rodriguez said.
He said the Trump administration has been poorly advised in its decision to rollback former President Barack Obama’s Cuba policies, which he described as a move that ignores the widespread support for the lifting the blockade and normalization of relations with Cuba, even by Republicans in Congress.
He added that the decision will restrict U.S. citizens’ liberties and opportunities for companies, leading to loss of income and jobs and a rise in taxes, while only serving the interests of a minority.
Rodriguez reiterated the will of the Cubans to have a dialogue with the U.S. with respect for Havana’s sovereignty. “We will never negotiate under pressure or threat,” he said.
He added that Obama did not make concessions towards the island, as Trump alleges, and even advanced the interests of the U.S. during negotiations that led to historic changes in bilateral ties, including the reopening of Cuban and U.S.embassies in Washington and Havana, among other developments.
The United States is continuing to tighten economic pressure on its geopolitical rivals, as the U.S. Senate voted Thursday to boost sweeping sanctions against Russia and Iran.
The sanctions legislation passed through the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, 98-2, and was originally written to target Tehran for its sovereign right to develop its ballistic missile program and its alleged “continued support” for groups deemed “terrorist” by Washington.
However, senators agreed to amend the text to include Moscow, which faces continued accusations of meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The plan would limit U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to ease sanctions on Russia, but it still needs to clear hurdles in the House of Representatives and the White House.
This week will soon be a memorable ‘week that was’ in Caribbean and South American history.
It’s difficult to say ahead what it will be remembered for. But come this coming Wednesday, May 31, governments of the smaller independent nations in the two neighboring regions will show the world whether they have nurtured the ability to reject external pressures to support larger nations pursuing their own selfish political ambitions in their continental and island space.
The upcoming May 31 meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) is not without controversy, having been convened through suspicious circumstances – some of which violate the OAS’ own statutes governing summoning of meetings, as well as its ‘Democratic Charter’ relating to external intervention in the internal affairs of member-states of such regional and international bodies.
It is also a bit of history in replay, this time through a slow-motion coup against Venezuela – a small nation that is both Caribbean and South American and a stalwart state promoting political and economic integration to lessen the region’s historic and still growing dependence on North America and the European Union (EU).
Venezuela has for over a decade been advocating and charting the way, along with Cuba, for the transformation of the petroleum-based PetroCaribe initiative into a new regional political and economic pact that will lead to a Caribbean and South American Economic Zone based on pooling of resources and skills in the common interests of member-nations.
For just as long, Washington has been seeking ways and means to reverse the political tide in Caracas – and it now feels certain it can put gears in motion to achieve that intention.
Courting for blessings…
More than five decades after South American nations approved the expulsion of Cuba from the and over three decades after the Caribbean provided cover for U.S. military intervention in Grenada, today’s governments are being courted, at the OAS again, to bless another US-led intervention in their region, this time in Venezuela.
As with Cuba following its 1959 Revolution and Grenada after its 1979 Revolution, Washington has already used its powerful regional influences to divide governments in pursuit of its political objectives in a region it still considers ‘America’s backyard’.
Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1961 and has refused to return, even if invited, for as long as the OAS continues to be regarded by Havana as the ‘U.S. Ministry of Colonies in the Americas’.
U.S. President Donald Trump may be preparing to roll back key policies towards Cuba.
His predecessor, Barack Obama, reestablished diplomatic relations with the Caribbean island nation beginning at the end of 2014 after almost six decades of hostility.
Reuters news agency reported Monday that the Trump administration will probably bring back some restrictions on trade and travel, but will “stop short of breaking diplomatic relations.”