We observe with deep concern how the absence of a democratic foreign policy, based on a national consensus as the expression of a State under the rule of law, aimed at the defense of the country’s vital interests, has led us to loose the significant position that Venezuela had been holding in the international community.

The reiterated infringement of human rights in our country and the failure to comply with the commitments entered as to the government’s democratic performance, are inevitably pushing us toward international isolation, mostly when one adds to that the attacks against the concerned international bodies, governmental or not and the systematic disavowal of the decisions adopted by inter governmental bodies in charge of the protection and promotion of human rights; such disavowal is a clear infringement of international treaties ratified by Venezuela.

We have evidence that most countries have failed to consider or have rejected proposals such the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA, in Spanish), or the isolationist position adopted towards the LAFTA’s negotiating process.

The particular politicizing of the country’s position as to regional integration has resulted in Venezuela being deemed a perturbing factor for the proper forwarding of the scheme advanced by the Andean Community of Nation (CAN). This position is inexplicable since we are dealing with the most important natural market for our non-traditional exports.

The current administration’s political attitude has also contributed to CAN’ weakening.

As a consequence, there has been a deterioration of the tradition friendship relationships that we had been displaying with countries that are essential for the development of our industry, agriculture and services, as a result of the use of a confrontational dialectic in our foreign relations. On the contrary, there is evidence of an inconvenient alignment with countries and regions of scarce meaning for our development needs.

Through the years, all Venezuelan democratic governments have applied a policy of cooperation and friendship with the countries of the Caribbean and Central America area, founded on international justice, fairness and solidarity. The current administration has dismayed such policy when using oil as a means of pressure or in order to give a preferential treatment, with detriment to the Republic’s interests.

We warn that if such a confrontational policy by our current government is to be followed by the current government, giving support to subversive movements in other countries of our continent. Latin America’s and the Caribbean’s democracy and stability would be threatened, as would be, as a result the world’s security.

We oppose the progressive destruction of the diplomatic career. The Foreign Service’s professional status, an achievement of many years, disappears when faced with this administration’s incoherent proposals, particularly when a partial amendment is sought of the Foreign Service Act, with a bill entered by the government majority in parliament aimed at giving a free hand to the control by the President of the Republic when appointing our Ambassadors. We denounce also the abuses against officers being persecuted, fired or retired by reason of having signed the petition to call for a Presidential Recall Referendum.

We denounce the use of our Embassies and Consulates as the regime’s propaganda centers, thus infringing international agreements and practices. Thus, rather that defending our citizens abroad, their constitutional rights are being lessened as it is the case with their participation, under the Constitution, in the Presidential Recall Referendum next August 15.

We observe, with clear worries, how the militarization of the Ministry of External Relations, during the last years, particularly by reason of the holding of key offices when defining and adopting policies, personnel management and financial resources’ administration, as well as heads of mission in Embassies having particular relevance for Venezuela, has allowed for a clear and speedy deterioration of our foreign policy, of our position in the concert of nations and, most specially of the Foreign Service’s professional status.

For all the above reasons, we are convinced of the fact that the only way to reach a peaceful, electoral, democratic and constitutional solution to our current crisis, is my supporting the YES vote in the Presidential Recall Referendum. We invite all our colleagues, as well as all Venezuelans, to vote YES next August 15.

Signed in Caracas, on the 10th day of August, 2004.