The government of Paraguay led by President Mario Abdo Benitez was the first to announce that from today on, it will be breaking diplomatic relations with Venezuela.
The announcement came immediately after the inauguration of Nicolás Maduro as president of Venezuela for the period 2019-2025, in elections widely believed to be fraudulent.
— Marito Abdo (@MaritoAbdo) January 10, 2019
Abdo Benitez announced that the embassy in Venezuela will be closed and diplomatic personnel will be withdrawn. He added that this does not mean that Paraguay will fail to comply with its international commitments or that the nation will not make payments on its current debt with state oil company PDVSA.
He added that timely payments will be made in accordance with the Caracas Agreement. “That money will serve for the reconstruction of democracy in Venezuela,” he said.
“We will not be indifferent to the pain of the Venezuelan people. The support for the people of Venezuela must be real,” said Abdo. He asked other countries to take concrete actions on Venezuela, as well.
The new president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, thanked the “wave of measures taken against Maduro”, and singled out in particular the announcement of the Paraguayan president.
The recent taken by Paraguay could prompt a wave of similar measures by other democratic nations, especially by those belonging to the Lima Group that have already announced that they would “re-evaluate” relations with the Nicolás Maduro regime.
Already the Group, composed of 13 countries in the region, had issued an ultimatum to Nicolás Maduro. By assuming power on January 10, the Venezuelan regime will now be sanctioned with measures ranging from the break of diplomatic relations to economic sanctions on Chavista officials.
Today Peru also announced measures against the dictatorship in Venezuela. They also announced a list of 100 officials and accomplices of the Chavez regime who will now be prohibited from entering Peruvian territory: at the head of the list are Nicolás Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores.
Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra made a call for consultations with the Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Peru in Venezuela, First Secretary Rosa Alvarez Nuñez.
The document adds that Peru will freeze the assets of officials of the Maduro regime and natural and legal persons related to it, within the framework of the recent declaration of the Lima Group
“We have coordinated with the authorities of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the Superintendency of Banking and Insurance (SBS), to comply with the economic-financial measures established in the aforementioned declaration. Among them, to strengthen due diligence, share the list of members of the Nicolás Maduro regime and natural and legal persons related to it, and their future status, with all subjects obliged to report to the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF),” Vizcarra said.
“The Government of Peru ratifies its full support for the National Assembly, which was freely and democratically elected in December 2015. It reiterates that it does not recognize the legitimacy of the new presidential term of Nicolás Maduro and reaffirms its unequivocal and firm condemnation of the rupture of the constitutional order and of the rule of law in Venezuela, highlighting that only through the full restoration of democracy and respect for human rights can the political, economic, social, and humanitarian crisis facing that country be resolved,” the Peruvian statement said.
In addition to the measure by Paraguay and Peru, the Permanent Council of the OAS has issued a statement on the “situation in Venezuela.”
With 19 votes in favor, 6 against, and 8 abstentions the Organization of American States approved the resolution condemning the swearing in of Nicolás Maduro and refused to recognize him as president of the South American country.
The member countries agreed to “not recognize the legitimacy” of Maduro’s mandate, and called for new elections to be held “soon in the future” with international observation. This means that for 19 countries that are part of the OAS, Maduro is no longer president.
It should be noted that the abstention of the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and El Salvador exposes the isolation of Maduro, who little by little has been losing international support, even from his socialist “friends.”
The reactions to the illegitimate swearing in of Maduro were not long in coming. Both Chile and the United States condemned the act as illegitimate.
The Chilean Foreign Minister, Roberto Ampuero, said that today is a “black day” for democracy in Venezuela.
The foreign minister reiterated that the Chilean government “does not recognize” Maduro and considered that the only democratically elected body in Venezuela is the National Assembly, in which the opposition enjoys a majority.
However, he stressed that his country will maintain relations with Venezuela at their current “low level”, a common policy among the countries of the Lima Group.
For its part, the US government announced that it will not recognize the “illegitimate takeover of the dictatorship” and will maintain its pressure on that “corrupt regime,” according to John Bolton, White House National Security Advisor.
Thus, Washington joins the European Union (EU) and the so-called Lima Group, consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saint Lucia , in repudiation of Maduro’s inauguration.
In theory, if international actions are coherent and governments do not recognize Nicolás Maduro as president, after January 10 Maduro should lose the diplomatic immunity he holds.
If before there was some vestige to pretend to believe in democracy in Venezuela, as of this January 10, the reality is clear. Maduro stole the presidential elections and is now assuming de facto power.
Since Maduro took office, the dictatorship in Venezuela has trampled the Constitution creating the Chavista National Constituent Assembly (ANC), annulled the National Assembly, appointed judges of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), and led electoral frauds; so Maduro has been a de facto president since he assumed power after the death of Hugo Chávez.
As MEP Beatriz Becerra wrote on Twitter: “Venezuela has not been a democracy for a long time, but today, January 10, the tyrant Maduro takes a step towards the totalitarian one-party dictatorship: he takes over the presidency, to which he was not legitimately elected.”
Another example of his complete tyranny is the proposal made on Tuesday, January 8, by the Chavista ANC: dissolve the Venezuelan National Assembly, and arrest those who support the Lima Group with prison.
“Let’s evaluate the possibility, that this Assembly be dissolved, that this year we will call and convene an election for the National Assembly,” said Gerardo Márquez, a member of the Assembly.
Now, opposition MPs will be investigated for treason to the country.
Diosdado Cabello, president of the illegitimate ANC, ordered the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor’s Office to begin the process, which could result in sentences of up to 30 years in prison if the legislators are stripped of their immunity.