ALBA Leads ‘Collective Rejection’ of U.S. Sanctions Against Venezuela
Juan Reardon. Venezuelanalysis. May 26, 2011
Mérida – On Wednesday the Latin American nations that make up the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA) joined regional voices in their “indignation and rejection” of the U.S. government’s decision to impose unilateral sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
In addition to the ALBA statement, Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry called the U.S. sanctions a “violation of international law” and a group of Chilean lawmakers called the U.S. decision “an aggression not only against Venezuela, but against all Latin American countries.”
In their official statement released yesterday, ALBA’s member nations (Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Sainte Vicente and the Grenadines, and Venezuela) expressed their “most firm” collective rejection of the U.S. sanctions imposed on PDVSA. They went on to insist that the U.S. “bring a definitive end to its acts of aggression against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and show an unrestricted respect for the decisions taken by our countries in the exercise of our national sovereignty.”
Ecuador, an ALBA nation, issued its own statement of rejection in which the country’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “concern for the possible negative effects” that U.S. sanctions could have on the “social and economic development of those nations affected, especially the brother nation of Venezuela.”
Ecuador went to affirm that, “because PDVSA is a Venezuelan state enterprise, not an enterprise of transnational interests, the (U.S.) sanctions are also in violation of the fundamental principles of international law codified in the Charter of the United Nations and particularly in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.”
The aforementioned Covenant stipulates that “all peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,” and that “all peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law.”
A group of 10 Chilean legislators, including Alejandro Navarro (President of Chile’s Ample Social Movement, MAS) and Guillermo Teiller (President of the Chilean Communist Party), issued a similar statement of solidarity with the Venezuelan people and government. In it, they called the U.S. decision “an aggression not only against Venezuela, but against all Latin American countries.”
According to the Chilean lawmakers, the newly imposed sanctions are “just the beginning of a blockade with both political and military objectives,” affirming that U.S. policy towards Venezuela and other OPEC nations worldwide “has only one name, one objective, one common denominator: oil.”
Speaking to the press on Thursday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro reiterated Venezuela’s rejection of the U.S. sanctions and described plans underway to prevent what he called “U.S. meddling in the region’s internal affairs.”
Maduro explained how the soon-to-be-established Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a regional organization that will include all American states except for the United States and Canada, plans to discuss “an energy stability and security treaty for our region” during the organization’s foundational meeting, scheduled for 5 June 2011. The treaty, he suggested, would help member nations respond to future aggression by outside forces.
The Venezuelan Foreign Minister also affirmed that two other regional institutions have joined calls of rejection to the U.S.-imposed sanctions on PDVSA; the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) – which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Paraguay, Surinam, Uruguay, Venezuela and Colombia, with Paraguay and Brazil still needing to approve the founding charter – and PetroCaribe (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and Venezuela).
The declarations by ALBA and others came in response to the U.S. State Department’s decision on Tuesday to impose unilateral sanctions against Venezuela’s PDVSA as well as six other international firms; PCCI (Jersey/Iran), the Real Oyster Group (United Arab Emirates), Speedy Ship (United Arab Emirates/Iran), Tanker Pacific (Singapore), Ofer Brothers Group (Israel), and Associated Shipbroking (Monaco). All are accused by the U.S. of helping to “facilitate Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions.”
In the case of PDVSA, the U.S. government accuses the Venezuelan firm of sending two cargo ships to Iran delivering $50 million US worth of reformate – a gasoline blending component used to improve the quality of gasoline.