Statement on the United States Offer to Mediate the Crisis between Colombia and Venezuela

In response to recent declarations by the Government of the United States

concerning its “interest in promoting stability and dialogue” between Colombia

and Venezuela, the Ministry of People’s Power of Foreign Affairs of the

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela wants to point out that the installation of

military bases in Colombia under the unlimited control of the United States

itself represents a situation of instability and regional

concern.   

The Colombian Government tries to justify the disproportionate deployment of

the United States

in Colombian territory by citing the bilateral effort in the fight against drug

trafficking and terrorism. Those arguments are false and do not respond to the

doubts and concerns that the countries of South America have expressed over the

bases, which are perceived as threats due to the significance of the installation

of equipment for electronic warfare, the possibility of intelligence-gathering

operations and the presence of U.S. military personnel and defense contractors.

The strengthening of the U.S. military presence is aimed at demonstrating its

global power to dissuade, under the threat of military intervention, countries

like the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that are critical of imperialist U.S.

policies. As part of this positioning, the Palanquero Base will play a

strategic role since it could serve as a stop-over for missions outside of Colombia. Venezuela

wishes to call attention to the fact that while the “Complementary Agreement

for Defense and Security Cooperation and Technical Assistance” does not

contemplate operations in third countries, it also does not explicitly prohibit

them.

Venezuela’s concerns in

considering the presence of these bases on Colombian territory under

unrestricted U.S. control as

a threat have solid foundation in recent violations of international law by

both Colombia and the U.S.

In the case of the government of President Alvaro Uribe, the illegal attack on

the territory of the Republic of Ecuador in March 2008 violated Article 2,

Section 4 of the UN Charter, which states that member-states will refrain from

the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of independence of

any other member-state, or otherwise act in a way that is incompatible with the

purposes of the United Nations.

With its war on Iraq, the U.S. violated

UN Security Council Resolution 1441 of 2002. That resolution established a very

strict inspection regime that strengthened the authority of the UN Monitoring,

Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic

Energy Agency (IAEA). The resolution did not authorize the use of force in the

case of a violation by Iraq

and the U.S.

violated the UN Charter when it launched military action without the approval

of the Security Council. 

These illegal actions, contrary to both the letter and spirit of the UN Charter

and norms that forbid the use of force in international relations – most

recently violated by the U.S. and Colombia – justify the concerns of the

countries of South America because of the exaggerated operational and defensive

capacity and a clear ceding of the responsibilities and prerogatives of the

Colombian Government to the U.S. by the administration of President Alvaro

Uribe.

Though the administration of President Barack Obama has publicly stated its

commitment to respecting international law and multilateral relations,

Venezuela’s concerns are only strengthened by the fact that this administration

continues violating UN Security Council Resolution 1373 of 2001, which

prohibits the granting of refuge to those who commit terrorist acts and forbids

the denial of extradition requests for terrorists based on political reasons.

The U.S. has failed to

fulfill the obligations established in the Extradition Treaty with Venezuela,

under the guise of legal maneuvers, in not extraditing the international

terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

Faced with this real threat to regional stability by the U.S. Government, the

proposal to mediate between Colombia

and Venezuela

has the clear goal of distracting from its primary responsibility in the crisis

and proves offensive in the eyes of the politically conscious peoples of the

world.

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates its rejection

of the aforementioned U.S. military bases in Colombia and re-states its

disposition to continue the debate within the Union of South American Nations

(UNASUR) over the difficult regional situation provoked by the governments of

Washington and Bogotá, by signing the ”Complementary Agreement for Defense and

Security Cooperation and Technical Assistance.” .

Venezuela considers that if

the U.S. has a real interest

in collaborating to promote dialogue and regional stability, it should refrain

from turning Colombia into a

base of operations for its regional strategy of domination and control over the

countries of South America.

Caracas,

November 17, 2009

SOURCE:

EMBASSY OF VENEZUELA

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