The Venezuelan government has accused Argentine President-Elect Mauricio Macri of “taking orders from the United States” following the conservative head of state to-be’s proposal to sanction Venezuela economically over human rights abuses against political dissidents.
“Macri received orders from the United States to try to divide Mercosur,” state ombudsman Tarek William Saab said in a press conference Wednesday, referring to the South American trade organization. Macri has threatened to use provisions within the bylaws of Mercosur to temporarily suspend Venezuela until the socialist government makes amends for hundreds of alleged human rights violations against peaceful anti-socialist demonstrators since February 2014, when opposition leader Leopoldo López was arrested for organizing an assembly.
López was sentenced to 13 years in prison by a prosecutor who later defected to the United States and claimed the case against the political leader was “100 percent false.” Saab was deployed to combat that accusation as well, not even denying the prosecutor’s claims against the state, but bizarrely claiming that they “simply do not exist.”
“Pay attention to the matters of your country and leave Venezuelans to deal with their own as per their Constitution,” Saab scolded Macri yesterday. “Someone who wins an election should call for regional unity, instead of wielding the axe of war against Venezuela,” he argued.
Saab also accused Macri of thinking himself “the Greek god of Mercosur, Unasur, and the OEA [Organization of American States]. He is going to kick us out of everything, because allegedly there is no democracy here.” Finally, he accused Macri’s family of “having long historical ties to atrocious matters regarding human rights.” Macri’s family has run a corporate enterprise in Argentina since the 1970s, during which a military regime occupied the presidency. This has led to accusations from the Latin American left that he personally has ties to human rights violations which may have occurred at the time. If his family members did commit human rights violations, Macri will personally tend to their imprisonment, has he has vowed to keep running a special tribunal for crimes committed during the tide of military regimes in the 1970s and 1980s.
Macri has incensed the Venezuelan regime by making punitive actions against it for human rights violations a pillar of his candidacy. During a presidential debate in October, Macri promised voters that he would “demand, given the abuses in Venezuela against political prisoners, that the democratic clause be used to suspend Venezuela from Mercosur.” He reissued that commitment following his victory on Sunday. “It is evident that the bloc’s [democratic] clause should be invoked because the [human rights] accusations are clear and without doubt; they are not made up,” Macri said.
Venezuelan opposition leaders celebrated Macri’s victory, and the president-elect invited López’s wife, Lilian Tintori, to his victory celebration in Buenos Aires, as a sign of solidarity against the Venezuelan dictatorship.
Mercosur requires all its members to be functioning democracies; the finding that any one nation is not conducting itself democratically could result in a temporary suspension from the trade bloc.
After 12 years of left-wing rule under President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Macri defeated his opponent, Daniel Scioli, after forcing the nation’s first run-off election in history. Many have seen his victory as a repudiation of the radical turn left a number of Latin America nations made in their leadership in the 2000s.