ALBA fears Libya-style endgame in Syria

CARACAS, (Reuters) – A bloc of left-wing Latin American governments accused Western nations yesterday of planning to intervene in Syria as they did in Libya and praised President Bashar al-Assad’s government despite widespread global condemnation.

The driving force behind the bloc, known as the ALBA group, is Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a virulent critic of the United States who has been vocal in his support for Assad.

“We are worried that the same process of interference that foreign powers applied in Libya will be repeated,” the eight-nation group said in a statement released at U.N. negotiations over Syria in Geneva and also sent to media in Venezuela.

Western-led air strikes last year helped bring an end to Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in Libya.

But there has been no such international consensus for armed intervention in Syria despite 14 months of violence including last week’s massacre of more than 100 civilians, many of them children. The government and rebels blamed each other.

“We value the Syrian government’s steps in attending to the legitimate demands of those who have protested peacefully … and the program of reforms carried out, as well as its willingness to implement the peace plan of (mediator) Kofi Annan,” the ALBA statement added in praise that contrasted with a chorus of disgust against Assad elsewhere round the world.

The bloc was opposing a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva condemning Syria for the massacre in Houla.

“The resolution reflects the desires to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs, without contributing to dialogue nor to the search for peace,” the statement said.

Founded by Chavez and Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro in 2004, the ALBA bloc did, however, condemn the Houla massacre and call on all sides in the Syria conflict to cease violence.

Critics of Chavez, who is seeking re-election in October despite battling cancer, say his support of Syria – like his past backing for Gaddafi – show his own dictatorial tendencies.

OPEC member Venezuela has been sending diesel to Syria despite Western sanctions on the Assad government.

“Once again, we see the name of our country next to the most abject dictatorships in the world, and how our oil helps in the repression of our Syrian brothers,” Venezuela’s opposition Democratic Unity coalition said in a statement.

Though Venezuela and Cuba are the loudest voices in ALBA, it also includes Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with a combined population of 75 million people.

Comments  

Success as 1 billion treated in battle against painful tropical diseases

LONDON,  (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A pledge by health and development experts to tackle neglected diseases that blind, disable and disfigure millions of the world’s poorest people has spurred tremendous progress in five years, a report said yesterday.

Brazil tops Places to Watch for deforestation, satellites show

RIO DE JANEIRO, (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Brazil topped the list of the world’s most important Places to Watch for deforestation on Wednesday, in a new initiative that uses near real-time satellite to highlight forest loss.

In T&T: 2,000 school janitors vow to down brooms

(Trinidad Guardian) Over 2,000 school janitors are threatening to stay off the job in the new school term in January if they are not paid outstanding salaries owed since October.

Mineral Boss shot and killed in Jamaica

(Jamaica Observer) Jamaica’s music fraternity is again in shock following the murder of one of its members.

‘Worse than Maria:’ Puerto Rican leaders make final push on tax bill

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Puerto Rican officials and mayors paid last-minute visits to Capitol Hill yesterday to urge lawmakers to shield the island from a tax proposal they say could destroy 75,000 jobs and wipe out a third of its tax base.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×