“And finally, in the Western Hemisphere, Venezuela, which you know is very current on our mind, our approach to Venezuela has been to try to work through coalition partners, through the OAS as well as others who share our view of Venezuela’s future. Clearly, what we want to see is for Venezuela to return to its constitution, return to its scheduled elections, and allow the people of Venezuela to have the voice in their government they deserve.
We are very, very troubled by what we’re seeing unfold following the constituent assembly vote, which went about as we expected, but the re-arrest of opposition leaders last night is very alarming. This could lead to an outbreak of further violence in the country. The situation, from a humanitarian standpoint, is already becoming dire. We are evaluating all our policy options as to what can we do to create a change of conditions where either Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future and wants to leave of his own accord or we can return the government processes back to their constitution. But we are quite concerned about we’re seeing down there. It is a policy discussion that’s currently under development through the interagency process this week.
In that regard, in the Western Hemisphere, I do want to thank Paco Palmieri, the acting assistant secretary; Ambassador Bill Brownfield; Under Secretary Tom Shannon; and in policy planning Kim Breier, who have been really working on this almost nonstop in terms of both the Mexico, Latin America, but also this crisis in Venezuela. And I appreciate their efforts as well.”
The Chavistas seemingly had just cause to take the two were under house arrest back into custody, but if they did in the dark of night as most media claim, that was a stupid and inflammatory way to do it, imo. Sure, Rexxie, it’l lead to ‘an outbreak of further violence’, as if the opposition and the sppoks among them needed more provocation. But did you just paint a target on Maduro?
Telesur notes that:
“While the U.S. top diplomat cited the Organization of American States as a “coalition partner” in anti-Venezuelan efforts, the regional body’s charter explicitly disallows the interventionist measures wielded against Caracas by Washington.
Article 19 of the OAS charter clearly prohibits any state having “the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State,” while Article 20 notes that “No State may use or encourage the use of coercive measures of an economic or political character in order to force the sovereign will of another State and obtain from it advantages of any kind.”
Tillerson’s comments come in the aftermath of unilateral sanctions imposed on Maduro on Monday. As with last week’s round of sanctions against 13 high-level government officials, all of Maduro’s assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction are now frozen and people from the U.S. are prohibited from dealing with the president.
Telesur also quotes from a Mark Weisbrot of CEPR in a column at the Hill, Mark Weisbrot of CEPR :
“Such sanctions have always been of dubious legitimacy and legality, to put it mildly. Under U.S. law, the president’s executive order has to state an obvious falsehood, that there is ‘a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security’ of the United States caused by Venezuela,” Weisbrot continued. “And the sanctions clearly violate the Charter of the Organization of American States (Chapter 4, Article 19), as well as other international treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory.”