Cuba praised Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly election Monday, denouncing what it called an international plot to suppress the will of the Venezuelan people in the wake of U.S. sanctions.
“During the elections for the National Constituent Assembly in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Venezuelan people have demonstrated to the world that they are full owners of their sovereign rights and weigh decisively on the side of peace, in defense of citizen security, independence and self-determination of their homeland,” Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement published by the Communist Youth daily, Juventud Rebelde.
Over 8 million people voted in the ANC election Sunday — a turnout of over 41 percent, according to electoral authorities — to choose from 6,120 candidates for the 545-member ANC in a mass display of support for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in the country.
“These people, defied violent street blockings, economic sabotage and international threats, defeated with their votes the strategy of imperialism and the oligarchies and an opposition that has not hesitated to unleash the most brutal expressions of cruelty,” the ministry said.
On Monday, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in response to Sunday's election, which it called a "sham." Right-wing governments from Spain, Canada, Argentina and Peru joined Washington in denouncing the vote, while Bolivia, Russia and electoral experts and others defended the ANC process as a democratic process.
"Cuba denounces the initiation of a well-orchestrated international operation, directed in Washington ... aimed at silencing the voice of the Venezuelan people, ignoring their will, and forcing them into submission with attacks and economic sanction," the Cuban government said.
"We know well these interventionist practices," it added, referring to the economic blockade imposed on the Caribbean island by the United States over 50 years ago that Havana says has cost it more than US$100 billion.
"They think that they will manage to achieve the submission of the people to a puppet opposition that they financed," the statement continued.
Cuba said only the Venezuelan people could decide how to overcome their problems and reiterated its solidarity with them and their government.
“Nothing can stop a people from owning their destiny,” it said. “Enough of interferences, of secret meetings, of betrayals to the Bolivarian spirit.”
Venezuela and Cuba have led the left movement of countries since the turn of the century in defense of independence from U.S. imperialist hegemony in Latin America and the Caribbean, in particular, but the entire world as well.
The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro forged sovereign organizations like the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America to combat U.S. meddling in the region.