The member countries of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Tiar) decided on Monday (23) to activate the treaty in order to "act collectively" to solve the crisis in Venezuela. The decision was made at a meeting in New York.
Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Homes Trujillo informed the press that Tiar's advisory body approved the resolution by 16 votes in favor, one against (Uruguay), one abstention (Trinidad and Tobago) and one absence. Cuba was absent, but the country was expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS), which sponsored the meeting.
Itamaraty said in a statement that the resolution established a mechanism to "investigate and bring to justice people and entities of the Maduro regime linked to narco-guerrillas and terrorism, as well as those responsible for committing serious human rights violations, corruption and money laundering. money".
"The goal is to prevent Venezuela from remaining free territory for illicit and criminal activities that pose serious threats to national security and systematic punishment of the Venezuelan people," the statement said.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo headed the Brazilian delegation and was elected first vice-chairman of the consultative body, which is due to meet again in two months.
Tiar's foreign ministers were summoned following a vote in the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on September 11, in which 12 of the 19 countries that make up the agreement voted to activate the group's consultative body.
Tiar, an agreement signed in 1947 and also called the "Rio Treaty", is a kind of NATO on the American continent that opens the possibility of military intervention. The pact includes: Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Work in group
No one has been specifically named other than Maduro, but diplomats said the result of the vote means that they will identify those considered to be Maduro's accomplices who will be prosecuted and ultimately seized and will be sentenced to prison.
Under the treaty, all signatories must share information and work together to compile a list of current and former members of the regime and their families against whom sanctions would apply.
Although diplomats have not called for military action, as Tiar would allow, they said the decision represents a major step to pressure Maduro and his comrades in a way that US sanctions against more than 100 individuals in nearly a year so far. failed to succeed. For months, US officials said they believed Maduro's government was on the brink of collapse, but it managed to retain the support of most of the armed forces.
"This is beginning to set the way forward," said Carlos Trujillo, US ambassador to the OAS, who attended the meeting.
"Imagine the families of the accused trying to leave the country by taking a flight from Panama or Costa Rica," he added. "This puts pressure on the regime that it hasn't had in the last ten months."
Although Maduro's government continues to be recognized by the UN, the Organization of American States and more than 50 other countries recognize the opposition government led by Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly.
Both the United States and envoys representing Guaidó hope to use the annual UN General Assembly meeting to pressure European countries to impose US-like sanctions on Maduro and his associates. They believe members of the Maduro regime used Europe to hide money and protect their families.
Monday's vote was held in a hotel in midtown Manhattan, where US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his entourage are hosted. Half a block away is the office of the Venezuelan consulate that was abandoned by the expelled Maduro regime officials. The site was passed to representatives of the Guaidó government.