Venezuela Returns to Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance

The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance prevents and disrupts threats and aggressions against countries in the Americas.
Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo | 23 May 2019

Supporters raise their hands and swear with Guaido "not to rest" until the country has achieved freedom, on January 23, 2019, in Caracas, Venezuela. (Photo: Boris Vergara/DPA)

On May 7, 2019, the National Assembly of Venezuela sent a request to the Organization of American States (OAS) to be reincorporated into the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR, in Spanish), also known as the Rio Treaty.  Interim President Juan Guaidó is seeking options to solve the Venezuelan crisis, form a transition government, and conduct free elections. Caracas left the TIAR in 2012, along with Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

"This instrument will be another element to continue exerting pressure to recover democracy and freedom," Francisco Sucre, president of the Foreign Policy Commission of the Venezuelan parliament, told the press. "The dictatorship has an ongoing strategy to isolate Venezuela."  

Twenty-one nations signed the TIAR in 1947. The accord states that if any country perpetrates an armed attack against an American country, this will be considered an attack against all member nations. The signatories are committed to confronting the attack, the OAS says on its website.

Venezuela could use the TIAR in case of an attack by Maduro's illegitimate regime. The sanctions imposed by the treaty can go "from rupturing diplomatic ties and economic sanctions, to a possible military intervention to defend Guaidó's government," said Argentine digital news agency Infobae.

"We are doing our best to liberate Venezuela from this tragedy," Interim President Juan Guaidó told the press. "The TIAR route will cause the [Chavista] regime to collapse,” Andrés Mezgravis, professor at Andrés Bello Catholic University, said via Twitter. 

Protecting rights

Venezuela’s inclusion in TIAR also provides for its inclusion in the Inter-American System of Human Rights. On May 11, Guaidó spoke with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about other options to protect his country’s rights.

"The parliament can leverage international cooperation in the areas of military and humanitarian assistance, and other areas as determined by this organization," he said. Specifically, he mentioned the so-called Roldós doctrine. Signed in 1980 by Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, this doctrine has 11 principles. One of these principles establishes respect for human, political, and social rights. The protection of these rights does not violate the non-intervention principle, according to the Roldós doctrine.

Additionally, on May 11, Interim President Guaidó instructed the Venezuelan ambassador to the U.S., Carlos Vecchio, to meet immediately with the U.S. Southern Command and to establish a direct line of cooperation. "The intervention in Venezuela already exists, and it consists of the penetration of the National Liberation Army in Venezuela, as the usurper [Nicolás Maduro] revealed," Guaidó told the press.

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