On 14 February 2018, the 12 Foreign Ministers of the Lima Group rejected an early presidential election called in Venezuela. After insisting that this presidential election be brought forward, even presenting it as the solution for all of Venezuela’s problems, the Lima Group is now declaring that “the conditions are not ripe” for voting to take place. This draws our minds back to what happened in 2014, when the Foreign Ministers of the Arab League rejected the calling of the Presidential Election in Syria, classifying it as a farce. All foreign observers present in Syria during the election testified to the democratic nature of the ballot.

The intervention that the United States is promoting against Venezuela with the complicity of the so-called “Lima Group” which is made up of 12 states – less than half the member states of the OAS – among which Panama’s head can shamefully be counted, is an illegitimate and impossible enterprise because it constitutes a flagrant violation of three sources of obligations: 1/the OAS Charter; 2/the UN Charter and 3/Customary International Law.

This collective violation of international law includes decades of illicit action which began when Hugo Chavez came to power in Venezuela and the United States began to lose its privileges, privileged positions and oil subsidies .

Clearly, the OAS has lost its prestige but its Charter continues to enshrine principles of international law that prohibit its members from taking individual or collective action in the internal or external affairs of other States. These principles are, mutatis mutandi, the same principles contained in the UN Charter, and include the following:
 1. Every State has the right to choose, free from foreign interference, its political economic and social system and to be organized in the form that suits it the best. (Art 3, e).
 2. Disputes of an international character which arise between two or more American States must be resolved by pacific means (Art. 3, i).
 3. No State or Group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for whatever reason, in the internal or external affairs of another State. The foregoing principle excludes not only armed force but also any other form of interference with or infringement to Statehood and of the political, economic and cultural elements that constitute it (Art. 19).
 4. No State may apply or take coercive measures of an economic or political character to force the sovereign will of another State and to obtain from it advantages, of any sort (Art. 20).
 5. The territory of a State is inviolable; it cannot be subject to military occupation nor other measures of force taken by any another State, directly or indirectly, for whatever reason, even on a temporary basis (Art. 21).
 6. In international relations, American States must not have recourse to the use of force except in the case of self-defence, in accordance with treaties in force or in fulfilment of such treaties (Art. 22).
 7. None of the provisions of this Charter will be interpreted as diminishing in any way the rights and obligations of the Member States in accordance with the UN Charter (Article 131).

The so called “Democratic Charter” of the OAS cannot be invoked against Venezuela because the so-called ‘representative democracy” that it is seeking to enshrine, is in conflict with Article 103 of the UN Charter which prevails over the OAS:
“In case of a conflict between the obligations undertaken by the Members of the United Nations under this Charter and the obligations assumed by virtue of any other international convention, the obligations imposed by this Charter will prevail.”

The UN Charter does not mention “representative democracy” (the overriding objective of the OAS’s Democratic Charter) as a model or a mandatory political system for its members. This is because it recognizes that in the world there are different forms of political organization and government, such as republics and monarchies (democratic or not, presidential or parliamentary), principalities, etc.

However the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is far superior to the so-called “representative democracies” of the region (Venezuela is a participatory democracy) and is one of the most democratic countries in the world, as its history and current experience demonstrates. This has been noted by the UN, international human rights organizations and by personalities and prestigious associations such as the Carter Foundation.

However, the United States and its minions, disciples and sepoy of the “Lima Group” violate International Law time and time again. This is so even though they have not succeeded in obtaining the support of the OAS for this imperialist adventure (the independent countries of the Caribbean and others have prevented it). Almost the whole of the “Lima Group” has violated and is far from the norms that guarantee even the minimum requirements of basic democratic governance.

What right does the United States have to pillage Venezuela, when the United States itself is:
 the biggest violator of the UN Charter and the state that most often denies the existence of International Law;
 the State that has rejected or decided not to ratify the most important Human Rights Treaties at the global level;
 the country with the highest number of people sentenced to death in the world;
 the State whose defense budget is bigger than the aggregate budget of the 6 states that follow it in the list of countries with the highest defence budgets.
 the State with the highest number of military bases in the world (more than 1000);
 the State that has divided the planet into 10 military commands, without first seeking the authorization or consent of any country;
 the State that enjoys the largest slice of the global wealth pie;
 the State that enjoys more than a billion dollars (more than a thousand million) when according to the FAO, we would need 1060 million dollars to satiate global hunger

What right does this country that deviates from international law, have to deny the right of the Venezuelan people to exist?

What right does Colombia have to spearhead aggression against Venezuela?
 Colombia whose external sovereignty is violated being a country occupied by the United States (there are 7 US military bases in Colombia) and lacks independence;
 Colombia which is organized as a narcotic state where one out of ten Colombians is forced to live abroad, followed by Brazil and Peru;
 Colombia which has betrayed the Peace Agreements that it signed with guerrilla groups, assassinates and permits paramilitaries to systematically eliminate those that defend the rights of the poor and human rights;
 Colombia that tolerates the harassment and aggression of political movements that participate in the national politics, as the FARC?
 Colombia that is already an accomplice to the move to apply sanctions against Venezuela and will be the point from where the invasion of the Bolivarian Republic will be launched.

What right does Peru have to protest about the lack of democracy in Venezuela?
 Peru whose president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, was about to be impeached by the Congress on account of his “lack of integrity and inability” to govern because he received bribes from Odebrecht;
 Peru whose President illegally pardoned the former President Alberto Fujimori –who has confessed to genocide – and his government is permanently under the siege of claims by its workers for better health and education?

What right does Argentina have to raise issues about transparency in Venezuela?
 Argentina whose president, Mauricio Macri, is immersed up to the neck in the Odebrecht scandal and in the «Panama Papers» [1] scandal
 Argentina whose government is pursued every day by claims from its people, the Indian Mapuches, the retired and middle classes. People that have seen Progress freeze. Progress that moved forward during the mandate of the former president, Cristina Kirchner

What right does Brazil have to use its territory as a launching pad for an intervention and denounce Venezuela as a “dictatorship”?
 Brazil whose President, Michel Temer was not elected
 Brazil whose President came to office thanks to a “subtle coup” mounted against Dilma Roussef
 Brazil whose President is being charged by the Federal AG of “passive corruption, obstructing justice and organized crime” and
 Brazil which anti-democratically blocks, the candidacy of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva for presidency

What right does Mexico have to denounce Venezuela for its “humanitarian crisis”?
 Mexico whose President, Enrique Peña Nieto, presides over a corrupt government whose victuals are drug-trafficking and organized crime
 Mexico whose government has surrendered the resources of the people of Mexico to US transnationals
 Mexico which itself can boast to holding the world record for journalists who have been assassinated or who have disappeared

What right does Honduras have (per carita) to challenge the legitimacy of the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela?
 Honduras whose President, José O. Hernández, whose power is not anchored to the constitution; who was not elected; and pire encore, took power by a fraud of cosmic proportions?
 Honduras, whose President grabbed power with the support of the bayonets from the US South Command [2] and kills his own people without flinching

What right does Panama have to challenge the democracy of Venezuela, if the Panameñista Party (of President Juan Carlos Varela) came to power in the arms of its [US] invaders (that recognized Guillermo Endara as President of Panama in a US military base [3]? It is worth recalling here that in international law, treaties signed under military occupation are ipso facto null.

What moral code does Panama possess to destroy Venezuela’s right to self-determination, when Guillermo Endara, the first puppet president following the invasion, and the President of the Partido Panameñista (the Party of Juan Carlos Varela, the current President of Panama), signed the Arias Calderón-Hinton Agreement (1991), the basis of the Salas-Becker treaties of 2002, that surrenders Panama to 16 US federal agencies (including the Pentagon, the US Army, the US Air Force, the US Navy and the Services of the US Coast Guards)? These US authorities can convert Panama once again into a platform for SouthCom aggression.

What right does Panama have to intermeddle in Venezuela’s affairs, when governments of Panama have tolerated without a word of objection the PANAMAX (2003-2018) manoeuvres, carried out every year by the countries in the region and the Nato Powers based on a treaty between Chile and the United States? This treaty (signed in 2003) violates both the Treaty of Neutrality and Panama’s Constitution. Panama does not recognize it and has not signed it.

What right does the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, have to sign up to the New Horizons Agreement 2018, that may serve as a cover for an intervention against Venezuela, when this treaty violates the Treaty of Neutrality, the Constitution of Panama and International Law?

What right does the President of Panama have to act against Venezuela when the Salas-Becker Treaties –of which the New Horizons Agreement form part – was never submitted for approval to the Legislative Assembly or the “Nacional Panamena” and therefore, there is no constitutional obligation to fulfil them?

The former President of Panama Mireya Moscoso, member of the Partido Panameñista, is cloaked in shame for having signed up to all the Salas-Becker treaties (between 2001 and 2004, except one in 1991) and for illegally pardoning, at the request of Colin Powell (alias “the butcher of Panamá” [4]), Luis Posada Carriles, the confessed terrorist who tried to assassinate Cuba’s President, Fidel Castro, in 2002. The pardon was eventually cancelled by the Supreme Court of Justice but by then, Carriles had already taken flight.

Furthermore, the former President Moscoso authorized the Alemán Zubieta-Becker Treaty (1 April 2002) to be signed by the Administrator of the Authority of the Canal, Alberto Alemán Zubieta, even though he was not empowered to sign treaties and this is most outrageous part: the latter accepted and signed in English, although the National Constitution enshrines Spanish as the official language of Panama: ultra vires of both offices: that of the former President and the former Administrator of the Canal (cf. National Constitution of the Republic of Panama, Art. 191)!

While the Lima Group does not have any moral or legal authority to attack Venezuela, the United States insists on invading Venezuela with the complicity of non-representative, retro and illegal governments, and enemies of International Law that take advantage of the Carnival period to follow the United States this Tuesday [20 February 2018] under the infamous banner of another “Humanitarian Intervention”.

What they want is for us to think that a “humanitarian crisis” has erupted in Venezuela, a crisis that requires the peoples of the region to rise up against each other, poor against the poor and brothers against brothers. Necessary aggression to satisfy the appetites of Washington, misinterpreting the genius of the Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu: save your forces and exploit others.

Humanitarian Interventions should respond to the need to protect victims of the war when the sovereign power is unwilling or unable to assume this responsibility. But interventions are being carried out not out of a sense of noblesse oblige, but by hegemonic conmen to cover up their predatory mischief. But watch out! Humanitarian intervention is a polemic concept still under debate.

Personally and as President of SERPAJ-Panamá, I was opposed, to its indiscriminate adoption at the UN meeting in Central American (San José, 2005), called by the Arias Foundation. Sometimes the “right to protect” – inherent in “humanitarian intervention” – is conferred on the US Security Council, a regional agreement (such as NATO) or a group of States.

In Yugoslavia, a humanitarian intervention was supposed to be carried out to pre-empt an alleged ethnic cleansing that Slobodan Milosevic was executing in Bosnia. But what actually went down? NATO (read the United States) invaded Yugoslavia, the only European country that was not a member of this military organization, dismembered it, furthering the geopolitical interests of the Empire, and left it in ruins.

The truth came later, when it was too late:
“The former President of Yugoslavia (a state that no longer exists), Slobodan Milosevic, died (in detention) in strange circumstances. Yet ten years later, the International Criminal Tribunal has exonerated the Serbian politician of responsibility for the alleged war crimes committed in Bosnia …
Slobodan Milosevic was systematically vilified by the Western Press without exception and by politicians of Nato countries. The mass media of this era qualified him as the “ Butcher of the Balkans” and compared him to Hitler. He was also accused of “genocide” and being “a blood thirsty monster”. Such were the headlines in the mainstream papers in Europe and the US at that time.
By using this falsified cliché, an attempt was made to justify not only the economic sanctions against Serbia, but also the 1999 NATO bombings of Serbia, as well as the bloody war in Kosovo.» [5]

Libya, 2011: humanitarian intervention should have taken place to confront the human rights violations by the “dictator” Myammar Gaddafi. The task was given to Nato (read: the United States) and it applied its “right to protect” the “defenceless” population. In 7 months, it used 40,000 bombs and missiles against the Libyan people and through its deployment of spies, terrorists and foreign mercenaries at the same time – killed 120 000 Libyans, assassinated Gaddafi in an atrocious and particularly morbid manner, expropriated assets and oil from the country, submitting it to Satan’s governance – forever; and eliminated all the Libyan “darkies” from the government. All this even though that same year (2011), the UN Council of Human Rights had praised Gaddafi, specifically for Libya’s progress on racial equality. We now know that one reason for “humanitarian intervention” was Gaddafi’s attempt to replace the dollar with the Cf Afro (a currency common to African nations).

In the case of Panama, the United States has not even bothered to inform the OAS nor the United Nations, nor even the US Senate, that it has authorized the invasion of 1989. Instead it lied and demonized General Manuel Antonio Noriega. This is evidenced from the Top Secret documents of the US National Security Council, documents that set the objective of abrogating the treaties on the Panama Canal and putting an end to the negotiations between Japan and Panama for a new Canal. [6].

However there is no Humanitarian crisis nor a Civil War in Venezuela; the same goes for Panama. Yes there is a massive intervention in Venezuela’s own affairs, in the internal and external affairs of its people. This intervention that takes the form of ultra-modern and multi-form wars, with the transnational support of countries, NGOs and personalities that are trying to destruct the Venezuelan state, to destroy the Bolivarian Revolution and Marti’s dream and to plunder Venezuela of its enormous, natural wealth, shifting it from the patio to the main house.

The intervention against Venezuela would be an attack against Latin America and the Caribbean, a temporary step back for Latin American Unity. It would bring dishonour to the memory of the heroes that liberated Our America. For this reason, this intervention cannot be and cannot triumph!

Anoosha Boralessa

[1«Mossack-Fonseca, el escándalo Irán-Contras y Noriega», by Julio Yao Villalaz, La Estrella de Panamá , Voltaire Network, 27 April 2016.

[2The author is referring to SouthCom, the regional command for the US Armed Forces in charge of US troops deployed in a number of US military bases in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Voltaire Network Note.

[3The author refers to the US military intervention that Washington officially justified with the alleged support of Panama’s General Manuel Antonio Noriega in international drug trafficking and a “threat” to free navigation through the inter-ocean canal. To date, we have not been able to determine exactly how many civilians died in the “chemical” bombings, carried out by the US Air Force against the popular townships of the Capital of Panama, unleashed – like an invasion, – without a prior declaration of war by Washington. Note of VoltaireNet.

[4The US General Colin Powell also held the office of Secretary of State in the Bush Junior administration. He was internationally famous for his exposition before the UN Security Council on “weapons of mass destruction”, that called for the invasion of Iraq. He was the head of the US Joint Chiefs when the US invaded Panama. Note of Voltairenet.

[6See the forthcoming book of Julio Yao El Monopolio del Canal y la Invasión a Panamá, EUPAN, 2018)