Thursday, September 17, 2015

Maduro's Message on Pronouncements

The Venezuelan government is angry that some Chilean lawmakers criticized Leopoldo López's conviction. The essence of the Venezuelan foreign ministry's response was this:

Para la República Bolivariana de Venezuela es norma fundamental abstenerse de pronunciarse sobre los asuntos domésticos de cualquier Estado soberano.

"For the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela it is a fundamental norm to abstain from making pronouncements about the domestic affairs of any sovereign state."

This is funny because there is no Latin American leader who makes pronouncements about other country's affairs than Nicolás Maduro.

From April 2015: Venezuelan government circulates petition to criticize Obama for declaring Venezuela a national security threat.

From August 2015: Maduro says Alvaro Uribe and the Colombian right are assassins (which he's done countless times).

From July 2015: Maduro says that Guyana is making decisions in cahoots with Exxon Mobil.

From November 2013: Maduro says the Honduran presidential count is wrong.

Hugo Chávez did the same. Sometimes making pronouncements is a good thing. Sometimes it's not. Either way, you should not wrap yourself in the mantle of not saying things about other countries when you do so on a regular basis.

Update: Chris Sabatini makes a related point about how UNASUR's emphasis on non-intervention makes it toothless.


Anonymous,  12:48 PM  

Your examples don't actually make your point. The first three involve Venezuela: sanctions against Venezuela, alleged plots against Venezuela, and disputed territory involving Venezuela. And the fourth is a critique of alleged US intervention into Honduran elections.

So all of these comments you cite are really critiques of transgressions against other countries' national sovereignty, which are consistent with Maduro's critique of Chile. If you found Venezuelan government leaders critiquing domestic court cases or truly domestic issues, then you'd have a stronger point here.

Unknown 1:38 PM  

Sure, the examples could be better. But, Maduro - just like Chavez- has on repeated occasions spoke about the weakness of democracy in the US. Maduro, Correa, Morales, and others have critized the US treatment of racial minorities, even when the issue at hand doesn't involve immigrants from the region.

So, although the examples could be better, Maduro is just one example of a regional leader who loves to rail against foreign critics while behaving in a way that is not consistent with these complaints.

Greg Weeks 1:51 PM  

I forgot about race. Maduro had something to say about Eric Garner:

Anonymous,  2:50 PM  

Maduro and the Foreign Ministry have indeed criticized US race relations, but usually only after criticism from the US on its own human rights policies. For example, Maduro raised the issue of the murder of Michael Brown the day after the US State Dept criticized detaining Lopez, Ceballos, and others, in September 2014.

In your example here, Maduro raises the issue of Eric Garner around the same time sanctions are debated in Congress in December 2014.

Can you provide an example of the Venezuelan government issuing a formal statement on the judicial mistreatment of someone in the US, in the absence of sanctions or very recent formal statements from the US?

I agree that the Venezuelan government often attacks the US for alleged intervention into into Venezuela and elsewhere, but it doesn't critique, for example, trials against alleged whistleblowers.

So I think there is a difference, and the examples here don't make the point.

Greg Weeks 3:08 PM  

Then we'll have to agree to disagree, as I see that as tautological. Maduro makes statements about other countries all the time, but he frames them as being part of some affront to Venezuela, which then means they don't count as improper pronouncements. Therefore the examples don't make the point. And according to that logic, never can.

Anonymous,  4:18 PM  

Not unless you find some comments that are not chronologically very close to sanctions or very recent criticism on human rights. It looks to me like Maduro would be very happy if the US minded its own business and said nothing about domestic Venezuelan policies. It seems thereafter that Maduro would say nothing about US domestic policies.

So it appears the comments usually directly follow criticism. This is a much different approach than the US approach, which is that it'll criticize whatever country it likes whenever it pleases, regardless of whether its own policies are in line with its criticism. By contrast, Venezuela usually says "ok, you said X, but you are the ones who actually do that. So how can you criticize us?"

Does it not make sense to think about these statements chronologically?

Greg Weeks 4:30 PM  

Only if you really like unstated caveats.

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