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News > Latin America

The World Reacts to Venezuela's Historic Constituent Assembly

  • Social movements across Mexico and Central America are among those expressing solidarity with Venezuela's fight against imperialist intervention.

    Social movements across Mexico and Central America are among those expressing solidarity with Venezuela's fight against imperialist intervention. | Photo: Epn.com.ni - ConsulVeneNap

Published 31 July 2017

Social movements, regional governments, allies and opponents of the Bolivarian Revolution have been highly vocal in response to the event.

Venezuela's historic election for the National Constituent Assembly Sunday has provoked a wide range of response from across the political spectrum.

Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly Explained

Venezuela is one of only eight countries — including, most recently, Bolivia and Ecuador in 2007 — that have convened the historic democratic process to reform their constitution. The South American nation hopes the election will clear the path for a lasting social peace and an end to the foreign-backed chaos that has paralyzed many of the country's institutions.

Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed his continued support for Venezuela in a pair of tweets early Sunday morning, arguing that aggression against Venezuela's democracy is an act of aggression against the whole of Latin America.

“The Constituent Assembly will triumph,” he affirmed while noting, “those who organize and finance violence that attacks Venezuela and burns anti-imperialist Chavistas alive must be tried in the ICC (International Criminal Court)."

He later condemned the right-wing governments of Peru, Colombia and Mexico for failing to recognize the elections, arguing they were interfering in Venezuela's domestic affairs during a public act in Villa Serrano, in the province of Chuquisaca.

The government of Panama also stated in a communique issued on Saturday that it will not recognize the elections. Spain has also insisted it will not recognize the results. 

Talks with Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez over Venezuela's 'Dire Situation'

Peru has called a special meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the National Constituent Assembly and its "impact on the democratic order in Venezuela."

In a press statement released Sunday, Peru's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it will hold a meeting Tuesday with the ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, among others.

Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic, 70 solidarity committees showed their support for the Bolivarian Revolution, socialism, and the cause of Latin American and Caribbean integration. The groups also expressed their hopes that the democratic process helps contribute to a lasting peace in the fraternal Caribbean nation and ensures that the European Union, United States and Organization of American States halt their attempts to intervene in Venezuela's internal affairs or impede its right to self-determination.

Social movements across Mexico and Central America likewise expressed their emphatic solidarity with Venezuela's fight to ensure its sovereignty and ensure the safeguarding of democratic order in the country. About 300 delegates from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Cuba and Costa Rica signed a statement declaring their support for the democratically-elected government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The statement welcomed the National Constituent Assembly which the delegates specified is being held amid widespread aggression mounted by various media, political and economic actors hostile to the Bolivarian process.

"At this time we rally at the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico, expressing our support for the Constituent Assembly."

The statement also denounced the arbitrary unilateral sanctions imposed on Caracas by the United States, as well as OAS actions meant to intervene in the internal affairs of the nation in order to ultimately overthrow Bolivarian institutions and roll back the gains of the revolutionary government founded by late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

The leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Rodrigo Londoño better known as Timochenko, said on Twitter: "We are certain that without pressure or  foreign intervention the people of Venezuela will make decisions in a sovereign way."

Colombian politician Gustavo Petro also called for there to be greater respect for Venezuela's sovereignty. "I don't support any coup, nor any foreign invasion in any country in the world, much less in Latin America."

The president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Fernando Gonzalez emphasized the militant commitment of Cuba to stand alongside the government of Venezuela, which is resisting what he called attacks committed by imperialism and the local oligarchy.

National Constituent Assembly Explained

In Brazil, labor Judge Jonatas Andrade congratulated Venezuela for developing a more participatory and direct electoral process. By voting on sectors, Andrade argued the electoral process for the National Constituent Assembly was more representative.

"Democracy is being questioned all over the world precisely because it hasn't observed its own basic principle: 'government of the people, for the people, by the people'. In Venezuela's Fifth Republic we have seen a constant practical effort to adhere to this essential democratic principle, and one of these efforts is the sectoral vote for 1/3 of the members of the Constituent Assembly," he said.

"The sectoral vote means taking into account new social subjects that have acquired greater prominence since the 1999 constitution — Indigenous peoples, campesinos, the disabled — sectors that were invisible before, began to assert themsleves and find protection, and are now threatened with the kind of social rollback we are seeing in so many places, including in Brazil."

Demonstrations were held Sunday at the Venezuelan embassies in Chile and Mexico, respectively, where local social movements and Venezuelan emigrants alike showed their support for the Constituent Assembly. Similar actions were held in London, Malmo, Sweden and other cities in Europe.

Trade unionists from the Maritime Union of Australia and the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union took part in a Sydney rally in solidarity with Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution on July 29.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa, speaking to local TV station Teleamazonas, reiterating the Andean nation's opposition to Washington's sanctions and “prescriptive attitudes that dictate what a country should or should not do.”

The country's ruling Alianza PAIS party held a forum Thursday in Quito analyzing the current situation in Venezuela and its potential repercussions for peace and security throughout the continent. The left-wing party came to power through the “Citizen's Revolution” led by former President Rafael Correa, and broad sections among its militants and leaders continue to be inspired by the legacy of Chavez.

Which Way Out of the Venezuelan Crisis?

Among the United States' traditional junior partners in Latin America, reactions to the elections were predictably negative. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has promised to not recognize Sunday's vote, while Mexico's unpopular PRI government under President Enrique Peña Nieto and Panama's government have both stated that they would collaborate with U.S. President Donald Trump's sanctions.

Maduro's approval ratings remain higher than those of the leaders of Colombia and Mexico, as endemic violence, poverty and lawlessness has continued to damage trust in political authorities.

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement of Maduro's continued appeals to opposition forces to engage in dialogue and to abandon violence.

“We expect that the elections will be free of provocations, will fully comply with Venezuelan law and will contribute to stabilizing the domestic political situation,” the statement noted. Russia has consistently opposed attempts to render the country ungovernable through "the efforts taken by some external forces to apply color revolution scenarios and formulas in Venezuela," a reference to Washington's support for the right-wing MUD opposition.

"We must support #Vzla and its constituent process because it means supporting Peace in the region."

The United States, however, has criticized the electoral process. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley described the historic vote as a "sham election" and  "another step toward dictatorship," in a message on Twitter. 

The United States announced sanctions against Venezuela this past Wednesday amid a week-long spree of unilateral economic measures imposed against so-called “U.S. adversaries” Russia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, and Nicaragua, the latter of whom Washington branded “authoritarian” despite the highly popular ratings of democratically-elected President Daniel Ortega.

In response to the sanctions, Caracas reiterated its refusal to surrender to the economic warfare being waged against the Venezuelan people saying it will continue to advance on a path of increased production, food sovereignty and an end to oil dependency alongside strategic partners such as India, China and Russia as well as fraternal regional nations.

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