Statement by UNASUR members on Venezuela not official position of organisation

Guyana is not among members of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) that have signed a statement condemning the decision of Venezuela Supreme Court to annul its congress.

According to a Reuters report that was published on Friday, the statement represented the latest sign of international outrage at the move.

In the statement, six UNASAR countries—Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay—called for democratic order to be restored in Venezuela.

The news report said that the leftist governments of Bolivia and Ecuador, which are also part of UNASUR, did not sign the statement.

A source who did not want to be named told Sunday Stabroek last evening that the joint statement, which was issued by the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry, was not a representation of the views of UNASUR since there has been no meeting of the members of the organisation to discuss Venezuela. The release, it was stated, came from the six countries that signed it and not from the organisation.

Sunday Stabroek was told that presently UNASUR is without a Secretary General. Additionally, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro heads the organisation as President Pro Tempore. He assumed the position on April 23, 2016 for a one-year term.

It was reported last week that having already shot down most of the National Assembly’s measures since the opposition won control in 2015, the pro-Maduro Supreme Court on Wednesday said it was taking over the legislature’s role because it was in “contempt” of the law.

The court’s move to assume Congress’ responsibilities has sparked international condemnation and protests across Caracas. The United States, Organisation of American States (OAS), European Union, United Nations and major Latin American nations have expressed concern at the development, while Russia has come out urging the world to leave Venezuela alone.

Reuters reported yesterday that Maduro said on Thursday that he would resolve the controversy over the judiciary’s annulment of congress. “I hope to have very good news this evening and clear up the controversy generated,” Maduro was quoted as saying in a speech, and was calling a meeting of the state security council to discuss the attorney general’s criticism of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Seeking to project himself as above the fray and possibly presaging an about turn by the Supreme Court, Maduro said he had no advance knowledge of the ruling but would immediately address the matter, the news outfit reported.

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