Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra has been one of many to speak out against the Venezuelan government.

The move by President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro to convoke a ‘Constituent Assembly’ has been met with outrage from representatives of many other Latin American and international bodies. Maduro’s declaration of his intention to invoke this power to call an assembly that will rewrite the Venezuelan Constitution comes in the face of near-constant protests and riots over the country’s food and medicine shortages, 700% inflation rate, basket-case economy, violations of citizens’ rights and plummeting approval ratings for the current government. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Caracas, and over the past month 29 people have died in the protests. Internationally, Maduro’s move has been seen by many as an attempt to strip Venezuela of its democracy and keep the current administration in power despite overwhelming dissatisfaction with the current regime.

Susana Malcorra, Argentina’s Foreign Minister, has said that Maduro is “throwing fuel on the fire”. Malcorra had previously criticized Maduro’s regime, saying in late April that “The deaths represent […] the most absolute failure of institutions and their leaders, incapable of providing for the most basic needs of their citizens. […] What more do we need for what’s happening in Venezuela to be considered serious?” These new developments may provide the unwanted answer to Malcorra’s question.

Delcy Rodríguez, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Venezuela, took to Twitter to lash back at Malcorra’s comments, criticizing what she referred to as Argentina’s “interference” in Venezuelan affairs. Rodríguez claimed that the Constituent Assembly was an attempt to preserve Venezuela’s peace and sovereignty, not dissolve the separation of powers as has been claimed.

Rodríguez also turned on her Chilean counterpart, Heraldo Muñoz, who had also criticized Maduro’s call for the Assembly. Rodríguez suggested that Chile should take note of Venezuela’s example and call for a similar Assembly to remove elements of the Chilean Constitution created under the dictatorship of Pinochet.

Further criticism of Maduro’s plans has come from Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes, who also referred to them as a “coup d’état” and “another break with democracy, violating the country’s constitution,” but said that Brazil cannot intervene.

In the past week, Venezuela has withdrawn its membership from the Organisation of American States, claiming that the OAS was meddling too much in Venezuela’s internal affairs. Luis Almagro, the Uruguayan Secretary-General of the OAS, has come out against Maduro’s Constituent Assembly in a video posted to his Twitter feed yesterday.

Almagro calls the invocation of the Constituent Assembly “erroneous, unconstitutional and fraudulent” and “a new coup d’état”, saying that such an Assembly would have to be backed by the people in a referendum, and pointing to the many violations of the Venezuelan Constitution and citizens’ rights on the part of the current regime. “This proposal violates once more the most basic principles recognised in the Inter-American norms that govern us all,” said Almagro.



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