Lula Da Silva’s attempt to promote regional integration at the summit of South American presidents suffered its first setback left and right as Uruguayan Luis Lacalle Pou and Chilean Gabriel Boric were outraged by the Brazilian’s political support for Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro’s regime, which is facing serious allegations of human rights violations.
Both Lacalle Pou and Boric responded harshly to Lula, who had described the questioning of the Venezuelan autocracy as “narrative”. With their critical speeches, both have tried to make it clear that they will not blindly endorse a final summit statement -which Lula’s team is promoting- where the problem is avoided and Maduro is legitimized.
“I was surprised to read, in the declaration under negotiation, that what is happening in Venezuela has been discussed as a ‘story’. You know what we think about Venezuela and the Venezuelan government”, launched the Uruguayan president.
“If there are so many groups in the world trying to negotiate so that democracy is full in Venezuela” and “that human rights are respected so that there are no political prisoners, the worst thing we can do is cover the sun with a finger”, remarked Lacalle Pou directly criticizing Lula’s words.
The Uruguayan’s message was released on Instagram during the closed-door debate of the presidents at the Itamaraty Palace, in Brasilia, in the presence of the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay, Suriname and Venezuela.
Alberto Otárola, president of the Council of Ministers, participated on behalf of Peru.
Lacalle Pou even questioned whether the summit was preceded on Monday by a bilateral meeting between Brazil and Venezuela in which Lula stressed that the Venezuelan government He was elected “democratically”.
The Uruguayan president stressed that it is not in his hands to “choose a government”, but that he has “the possibility of expressing his opinion”, after which he questioned one of the points of a joint declaration that is being negotiated at the summit from Brasilia .
The declaration, according to Lacalle Pou, “Talk about democracy, talk about human rights and talk about celebrating institutions”, but from his point of view it does not fully reflect the Venezuelan situation.
“Obviously, we don’t have the same definition, which I think is that of the Royal Spanish Academy, of what respect for institutions, human rights and democracy are,” the Uruguayan president said in the video.
Then it was Boric’s turn, who spoke in the same terms. “We are happy that Venezuela returns to multilateral bodies because we believe that these are spaces where problems are solved and not with declarations in which we attack each other,” he began.
However, he clarified that “this cannot mean sweeping it under the carpet or turning a blind eye to matters that are principled and important to us, and there I respectfully said that I have a disagreement with President Lula. It’s not a narrative construction, it’s a serious reality”, he stressed.
“I had the opportunity to see it in the eyes of thousands of Venezuelans who are in our homeland, who demand a firm and clear position, that human rights must be respected everywhere, regardless of their political position, and this applies to all of us. “, he added. Finally, he indicated that “as president of the left it was important to raise it in front of Maduro now that we could meet.”
Previously, Lula had urged his hosts to smooth over the snags of seeking greater integration after years of disagreements, many of ideological origin. It was not this statement that angered Lacalle Pou and Boric, but their praise of Maduro, who governs a country where there are hundreds of political prisoners and more than 7 million citizens expelled.
“Maduro’s presence is a stone in the shoe. Also Venezuela, since (the late President Hugo) Chávez here, has become a serious problem for Latin America as it ends up setting an agenda,” said analyst Jorge Arias, of the consultancy firm Polilat. “We’ll see if they can get around that stone,” he added.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.