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ARGENTINA | 18-07-2020 10:08

Fernández plays down talk of foreign policy shift on Venezuela

President reiterates government’s rejection of economic sanctions against Venezuela, days after Argentina condemned human rights abuses in troubled nation.

President Alberto Fernández on Thursday reiterated his government’s rejection of economic sanctions against Venezuela, also calling for democratic co-existence in the Caribbean country with respect for rights "as anywhere in the world."

The Peronist leader was referring to comments delivered by Argentina’s ambassador the United Nations, presented in Geneva, following publication of a report on the human rights situation in Venezuela.

"Argentina has ratified its decision to preserve human rights in any context and under any government" while manifesting "its concern over the blockade because this is a punishment which the Venezuelan people do not deserve," Fernández told Radio AM 750, playing down talk of a foreign policy shift.

On Tuesday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet considered that the independence of the system of justice in Venezuela had been undermined, contributing to impunity and the persistence of human rights violations.

The Frente de Todos leader affirmed that Argentina’s statement "says what we have always said – preserving human rights anywhere in the world while being against the blockade suffered by Venezuela and asking that it be the Venezuelans who find a way out towards democratic co-existence without interference from third powers."

"I’m not the one to tell Venezuelans what they have to do, not me, nor [United States President Donald] Trump nor anybody else," he declared.

"When we talking about recovering democratic co-existence in Venezuela, we’re talking about sitting down to converse and construct a democracy," he affirmed.

The comments came after the president was sharply criticised by radio and TV presenter and journalist Victor Hugo in the wake of the statement on human rights.

In contrast to the previous government of Mauricio Macri and dozens of countries in the Americas and Europe, Fernández does not recognise the parliamentary leader Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela.

The president highlighted that although he views "with concern things happening not only in Venezuela but also in Ecuador and Bolivia, that does not mean that we endorse the idea of intervening in Venezuela in order to create a democracy as measured by others. We disagree."

For his part Foreign Minister Felipe Solá ratified that Venezuela is undergoing a "political, economic and humanitarian crisis," emphasising that his country is "against blockades and sanctions in times of pandemic" in a dialogue with Radio Nacional. 

– TIMES/AFP

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