Presidents, Foreign ministers and representatives from 22 Latinamerican and Caribbean countries stamped their signatures to a declaration stating their commitment in support of Venezuela and its institutions in the international stage.
The Declaration of Caracas, made public on Thursday includes 18 associates from Petrocaribe (*) and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, ALBA (*), plus El Salvador, Honduras, Uruguay and Argentina, and underlines that the signatories will collaborate in “international spaces” with the efforts of the government in charge of Vice president and Foreign minister Nicolas Maduro to impede that the health of President Hugo Chavez be used as “a pretext to attack the democratic institutions of Venezuela”.
The regional collaboration, according to the text, will impede the consolidation of attempts “to destabilize and promote interventionism in affairs on which the Venezuelan people has clearly expressed itself”.
The statement calls particularly on the international community “to respect” the Supreme Tribunal of Justice decision to postpone the taking office and presidential oath of Chavez for the mandate 2013/2019, for when he is recovered.
Cancer stricken in a hospital in Havana after a fourth surgery, on Thursday Chavez took office “in absence” during a massive rally in downtown Caracas headed by Vice-president Maduro, which Chavistas argue ‘legitimized’ the ceremony.
This would be the first time in Venezuelan history that a president takes office but is absent from the ceremony because of his health condition of which little is known besides the fact it must be very serious since not even a video message to his followers was screened.
Argentina was represented by Foreign minister Hector Timerman who expressed “the Argentine’s people total and absolute support to the sovereign decision of the Venezuelan people expressed on 7 October and which leaves no doubt as to what the people want”.
President Cristina Fernandez at the beginning of a trip to the Emirates and the Far East is expected to make a first stop in Cuba where she hopes to see Chavez in hospital.
Maduro at the rally thanked in the name of President Chavez and his family “the words of love and care” delivered by the visiting dignitaries in support of the Bolivarian leader and his revolutionary government.
Bolivian President Evo Morales who addressed the rally anticipated that “Chavez sooner than later would be again leading the liberation of the peoples of Latinamerica” and underlined that the best honour for the cancer stricken leader is “unity in Venezuela and in Latinamerica”.
“Chavez started to challenge the empire…now many of us in Latinamerica no longer have US bases or ‘gringos’ that come to give us orders under the pretext of the war on drugs”, said the Bolivian leader.
“The health problems of Brother Chavez not only are a problem and concern for the Venezuelan people, but also for Bolivian people and all the anti-imperialist peoples of the world”
Morales argued that the natural resources nationalization policies implemented by Chavez were followed by the peoples of Latinamerica in their effort to put an end to the looting done by the huge multinational corporations. He mentioned that before Chavez the income from the oil industry in Bolivia was only 300 million dollars but now has soared to 4bn dollars annually.
Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega warned the enemies of democracy that America and the peoples of the world are more combative than ever. “We have come here full of lover for Chavez, for Venezuela , full of love and care for all the region”.
Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa in a letter to Chavez and Maduro recalled that the peoples of the different Latinamerica and Caribbean countries remain in solidarity with Venezuela, because “the people clearly expressed themselves on 7 October in elections won by a landslide by Commander Hugo Chavez”.
“We are here willing to renew our commitment and admiration for the political process you are undertaking” said Ecuadorean Foreign minister Ricardo Patiño who delivered to Maduro a letter from Correa. “All our solidarity and support in this new (six-year) mandate which the administration of Chavez is about to begin”
“Lest there be no mistake from the enemies of democracy, the constitution, peace and development in Venezuela. In our America and with the peoples of the world we will remain in solidarity with Venezuela and her democratic decision” underlined Correa.
(*) Petrocaribe and (*) ALBA are two organizations master-minded by Chavez and fully financed by Venezuela’s hydrocarbons’ revenue which basically supply oil on long terms to Caribbean countries. Similarly ALBA promotes trade and provides development funds among its members. Chavez through his generosity achieves international political clout and can master votes in regional groups.