By AGENCIA VENEZOLANA DE NOTICIAS (AVN)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez exhorted all South American countries to consolidate the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to protect the region from situations like that of Libya, whose government was overthrown by NATO’s actions that killed its leader Muammar Gaddafi last week.
“UNASUR is a wonderful opportunity we have today to consolidate South America as a zone of democratic peace…that is our armour against barbarism…it is the most reliable guarantee that providence can give us so that we can assure the continuity of our republics and South American independence,” said Chávez after a meeting held on Wednesday in Caracas with the Secretary General of the regional organisation, María Enma Mejía.
On this issue, Chávez and Mejía declared that in the coming months the defence ministers of the 12 member countries of UNASUR will gather in Lima, Peru to continue shaping and organising the statutes of the organisations’ South American Defence Council.
Yesterday Venezuela became the sixth country to ratify the Additional Protocol to the Constitutive Treaty of UNASUR, which outlines the organisation’s commitment to democratic principles.
The Protocol describes joint measures which can be taken by UNASUR member states in the event of a “threat or rupture to democratic order, a violation of constitutional order, or any situation which puts in risk the legitimate exercise of power”.
These measures include suspending participation of a UNASUR member state in the organisation, closing of borders, limiting economic exchange, and diplomatic pressure to promote the reestablishment of a democratic government.
Mejía added that the organisations’ working-councils, comprising representatives of UNASUR member states, will be gathering over the coming months to give reports in December concerning topics of common interest. These include energy, defence, infrastructure and planning, education, drug trafficking, social development and financial integration.
UNASUR was formed in 2008 by 12 member states: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and has become a key mechanism of regional integration in South America.
The organisation also became accepted an official observer to the United Nations (UN) yesterday, pending a general assembly resolution in November.
Libya – OPEC
Chávez affirmed it is still too soon to establish the position of Venezuela in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) regarding the events in Libya, which is an OPEC member country that will have a representative for making decisions regarding the production quotes and prices of oil.
“What we can say is that NATO has installed a government in Libya by using bombs and killing the president. The casualties are estimated at 50 thousand deaths, a real massacre has happened there,” he stated.
The Venezuelan president labelled the NATO’s bombings over Libya as something that “can only be compared to the genocide against our indigenous peoples when the Spaniards arrived here, but now it is worst because they have aeroplanes and bombs, it is technological advance in the service of barbarism, (…) I never thought I would see something like this, but we are seeing it and some people celebrate it”.
In regard to those Venezuelans that celebrate what happened in the African country, Chávez said: “Here in Venezuela, there are crazy people saying that Chávez will have the same end as Gaddafi and that NATO will come here to save us. What craziness! Fortunately, they are a small group, but that little group has newspapers and TV stations for their purposes.”