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Venezuela Becomes Sixth UNASUR Country to Ratify Democratic Protocol

On Wednesday, Venezuela became the sixth member country of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to ratify the Constitutive Treaty’s Additional Protocol related to the commitment to democracy.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said that the law, enacted on Tuesday, October 25th , is “a marvelous opportunity to consolidate South America into a zone of democratic peace, as it is now and as it should be in the future.”

President Chávez spoke Wednesday at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas after a meeting with the secretary general of UNASUR, Maria Emma Mejía, who recognized Venezuela’s commitment to strengthening regional integration.

Mejía expressed confidence that the integration of the regional bloc and “permanent dialogue with other integration organizations” will continue when Venezuela’s electricity minister, Ali Rodriguez Araque, assumes the post of UNASUR secretary general next May 2012.

She said that a general assessment of the bloc’s political, social and economic councils is expected to be ready by late 2011, and that the results of the energy commission will be available by early 2012 in time for its meeting in Venezuela.

The meeting between Mejia and Chavez comes just ahead of a meeting of UNASUR heads of state this Saturday in Paraguay, the country slated to assume the presidency of the South American bloc.

Democratic Defense

The protocol ratified by Venezuela includes actions to be implemented by UNASUR countries in case of “ruptures or threats to the democratic order, a violation of constitutional order or any situation that endangers the legitimate exercise of power.”

In case of any alteration of the democratic order, the country occupying the presidency of UNASUR or any other member country may call a meeting with presidents or foreign affairs ministers to “consensually decide  the nature of the implications of the measures to be imposed” regarding the affected country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Measures considered in article 4 of the protocol include the suspension of the affected state from the different UNASUR commissions, total or partial closure of borders – including limited commercial exchange – temporary suspension of the country from other international organizations, and additional political and diplomatic sanctions.

Above and beyond these measures, the UNASUR council of presidents or foreign affairs ministers “will pave the way for and develop diplomatic actions to reestablish democracy in the affected country.”

AVN / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / October 27, 2011

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