Cuba calls for greater LatAm unity amid right-wing pressure on Venezuela
2017-04-11 09:54:00

Photo taken on March 5, 2017 shows Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (1st R, front), Bolivia's President Evo Morales (1st L), Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega (2nd L), and Cuban President Raul Castro (2nd R, front) before the 14th Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) in Caracas, Venezuela. (Xinhua/AVN)

HAVANA, April 10-- Cuba on Monday urged Latin American countries to unite in the face of mounting right-wing pressure on Venezuela's socialist government.

In an opening speech to the 15th Political Council of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez said, "the event in Havana must serve to continue strengthening unity and our capacity for regional coordination."

The meeting of the regional bloc, designed to promote integration, was attended by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and other leaders and senior officials.

Rodriguez said there appeared to be two Venezuelas: the reformist country promoting workers rights and engaging with international and regional organizations, and "a false and cruel (version) created by the Organization of American States (OAS), mass media and neoliberal oligarchies," according to state daily Granma.

The Washington, D.C.-based OAS has been campaigning to sanction Venezuela for alleged violations of human rights and democratic order.

While the ALBA meeting was taking place, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro once again called for moved-up elections in Venezuela "to restore democratic normalcy."

A power struggle between Venezuela's ruling socialist party and the right-wing opposition has plunged the country into an economic and political crisis marked by shortages of basic goods and protests.

In a joint declaration with Brazil's Foreign Affairs Minister Aloysio Nunes, issued out of Brasilia, the OAS official said, "From our point of view, the primary responsibility for the crisis falls on the Venezuelan government."

The statement adds, "the only way out of an institutional and political crisis is through an electoral calendar," and "Venezuela needs a legitimate government, a government that will lead the country to have access to new international (financial) support to recover the economy."

In Havana, participants are expected to ratify "a powerful final declaration" issued at an extraordinary ALBA summit held in March in Caracas," which constitutes an action plan" against the right-wing and imperialist onslaught currently taking place, Rodriguez said.

According to Granma, "the declaration features the keys toward jointly combating the new imperialist agenda being waged against the region, as well as other threats which seek to reverse the achievements made by progressive governments" in Latin America.

ALBA was founded in 2004 by then Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as an alternative to the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area for the Americas (FTAA), and comprises Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada. Editor:Nicky