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Question: What can you tell us about statements by high-ranking officials from the US and the OAS General Secretariat on Russian interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs?
Maria Zakharova: Continuing its aggressive rhetoric against Venezuela and openly trying to stage a coup in that country, the United States is simultaneously accusing those who are cooperating with its legal authorities, including Russia. The US Congress is fast-tracking a bill on measures against the participants of Russian-Venezuelan cooperation in the hope of exerting pressure on Moscow with more sanctions. However, Moscow is now used to sanctions and has stopped paying attention to them.
High-ranking US administration officials who failed to change the lawful government in Caracas, in part, owing to Russia’s tough position in defence of international law, declared that they will not tolerate the interference of hostile foreign powers in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere. This graphically reflects Washington’s attitude towards Venezuela and other Latin American states that are actually denied sovereignty.
Today US politicians again started talking about the notorious Monroe Doctrine. Thus, as in colonial times 200 years ago, the US continues to regard Latin America as a zone for its exclusive interests, its own ”backyard” and they directly demand that it should obey the US without a word and that other countries should steer clear of the region.
Given this, it is not quite clear what the US is doing in the Eastern Hemisphere. Maybe US politicians think that people in that part of the world should be grateful when Washington changes their leaders at its own discretion, killing those it doesn’t like. Or does the US think that people are waiting for it to bring democracy to them on the wings of its bombers? This question can be answered by Iraqis, Libyans and Serbs.
The US has again decided to “put things in order” in Latin America, starting with Venezuela. We regret that the leaders of the Organisation of American States (OAS) are myopically helping Washington consolidate its colonialist ways, as if not realising that any other country in the region could fall under US pressure later.
We would like to remind US politicians that they live in the 21st rather than 19th century. Venezuela is a sovereign state and a UN member. Its sovereignty is equal to Washington’s.
We are not surprised either by the politically engaged statement of the OAS General Secretariat, whereby Russia is groundlessly accused of “an armed invasion on the territory of Venezuela” in violation of its sovereignty.
Regrettably, this is not the first time the OAS General Secretariat has expressed an opinion that is within the competence of the participating states of this regional organisation. We are convinced that it is not up to a technical body to tell an independent state with whom and how to develop cooperation, and to assess the status of the Venezuelan government that has real power (as distinct from self-proclaimed “Acting President” Juan Guaido).
As for the legal aspects of the situation, we would like to recall that the 1999 Venezuelan Constitution clearly determines the order of the stay of foreign military contingents on the territory of the country: Article 13 prohibits the deployment of foreign military bases or facilities of military character of any foreign power or any coalition of foreign powers. Item 11 of Article 187 regulates the National Assembly’s authority to send Venezuelan army personnel to perform tasks abroad or allow the stay of foreign military missions inside the country.
The Russian Federation is developing cooperation with Venezuela in strict accordance with the latter’s Constitution and with full respect for its legislative norms. The stay of Russian specialists on Venezuelan territory is regulated by the agreement on military technical cooperation between the governments of Russia and Venezuela that was signed in May 2001 and ratified by both states. There is no need for additional approval of the steps for developing military technical cooperation that are taken under the provisions of the said agreement.
For our part, we intend to continue developing constructive mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia’s strategic partner Venezuela and other Latin American and Caribbean countries. As a permanent observer at the OAS, Russia is interested in promoting comprehensive cooperation with this regional organisation.
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