Monday, July 13, 2020
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ARGENTINA | 06-01-2020 12:06

Foreign Ministry condemns 'unacceptable harassment' of opposition in Venezuela

“To impede by force the functioning of the legislative assembly is to condemn oneself to international isolation," Foreign Minister Felipe Solá posted  on Twitter.

The government on Sunday rejected the Venezuelan government's intervention into the country's democratic process, saying the move would "condemn" the country "to international isolation."

Tensions erupted once again over the weekend after opposition leader Juan Guaidó was blocked from presiding over a special session of the National Assembly where rivals proclaimed a substitute leader — moves opposition officials condemned as a hijacking of the country's last democratic institution. 

Hours later, however, a majority of National Assembly members held an emergency meeting at an opposition newspaper office and voted to re-elect Guaidó as their leader.

Argentina's new Peronist government, led by Alberto Fernández, has previously been at pains to distance itself from the conservative-led backlash against President Nicolás Maduro in Latin America in the past.

Yet on Sunday, it criticised the behaviour of the Maduro administration, describing the events "an obstacle to the full functioning of the rule of law."

“To impede by force the functioning of the legislative assembly is to condemn oneself to international isolation," Foreign Minister Felipe Solá posted on Twitter. ”The course to follow is exactly the opposite. The Assembly should choose its president with complete legitimacy."

The Venezuelan opposition branded the actions of the Maduro administration a "parliamentary coup".

"The acts of harassment suffered by deputies, journalists and members of the diplomatic corps when attempting to enter the premises of the National Assembly, to elect the new authorities of its board of directors, are unacceptable for democratic coexistence," read a statement from the Argentine Foreign Ministry.

"The Argentine government also calls on the democracies of the world to help facilitate this process of dialogue so that Venezuela can recover as soon as possible the democratic normality that has historically characterised that country," the statement added.

"The protection of the independence of the powers and immunities of parliamentarians are indispensable conditions for the normal functioning of the democratic system."

The Fernández administration, however, did not sign up to the join statement led by the Lima Group, which condemned the Maduro government in harsher terms.

Former president Mauricio Macri's government formed a key part of the group, which includes the United States, Canada and several Latin American governments.

Solá added in his statement that "the Argentine government has been trying by all means" to achieve "he full recovery of the democratic functioning of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela."

In contrast to the Argentine government's statement, opposition Juntos por el Cambio lawmakers said in a press release that they "strongly" repudiated the "institutional coup "carried out" by "the dictatorship" in Venezuela.

"It is inadmissible and an offence against democracy, that forces that obey the dictator Nicolás Maduro today blocked the Parliament to opposition deputies with the purpose of damaging a democratic process," the opposition bank warned in a statement.

They described the appointment of Parra as "illegitimate."

– TIMES/NA/AFP

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