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by Harald Neuber
Friday, Jun. 24, 2005 at 10:31 AM
The Organization of American States rejected the US proposal. The "principle of non-intervention" was affirmed, not "supervision of democracy."
AMERICA AGAINST WASHINGTON
The Organization of American States rejects the US Proposal. The “Principle of Non-Intervention” was affirmed, not “Supervision of Democracy”.
By Harald Neuber
[This article published in: Junge Welt 6/9/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.jungewelt.de/2005/06-09/005.php.]
It was a resounding defeat for the US government. At the end of a three-day annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Organization of American States on Tuesday night rejected Washington’s initiative to “supervise democracy” in Latin America. On the eve of the meeting, the project caused disgruntlement. Venezuela’s government felt directly threatened. Secretary of State Al Rodriguez said the US government wants to pave “the way of intervention.” The majority of the 34 OAS-members shared his opinion. As the leftist Mexican daily La Jornada reported, eleven independent proposals were introduced against the US initiative including proposals from Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean states. The final declaration doesn’t even mention Washington’s project. Instead the document confirms “the principle of non-intervention.”
At the beginning of the General assembly on Sunday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice still defended the project. Her government only wanted to “recognize dangers for democracy on time.” However her choice of words was revealing. “Latin American governments must insure that democratically elected politicians govern democratically.” For the first time, she spoke in this connection of possible military steps. Washington would intervene to preserve democracy in the region, Rice said. She chose almost identical words before the Senate Foreign Relations committee of the US Senate in January to announce new actions against the Venezuelan government. Not surprisingly this US proposal met with general suspicion. When US President George Bush turned to representatives of Latin American and Caribbean states on Monday, he didn’t mention the initiative any more.
The distancing reactions were understandable since center-left forces govern most of the South American continent. The heads of state of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay have not renounced relations with Washington. However the Bush administration carefully made clear that it would not tolerate any more dissidents against the neoliberal dogmas alongside Venezuela. According to this model, the assistant secretary of state for Latin America, Roger Noriega, criticized Venezuela in Fort Lauderdale that “encouraged” the leftist opposition in Bolivia in their permanent rebellion against the privatization of natural gas deposits.
The pattern in Washington of distinguishing between democratic and undemocratic forces appeared at the edge of the OAS summit when Rice met with a representative of Venezuela’s opposition group Sumate. Leading members of this group collaborated in the failed putsch against president Chavez in April 2002. While active contacts exist between Washington and Venezuela’s rightwing opposition, the Bush administration has refused contacts with the Venezuelan he4ad of state since Chavez’ assumption of power at the beginning of 1999.
Considering this policy, the Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim agreed with his Venezuelan colleagues: “Democracy exists in dialogue and cannot be forced.”
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