The head of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) said Monday that the regional bloc is in total support of the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro following the U.S. government’s declaration of Venezuela as a national security threat.
UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper said that the bloc rejects "any attempt at internal or external interference that attempts to disrupt the democratic process in Venezuela.” His statements follow a visit by a UNASUR delegation to the South American country, where officials met with members of the government and the opposition.
"There is no possibility that UNASUR will validate any attempt to disrupt the democratic process in any country in the region," Samper said during a press conference at the bloc's headquarters in Quito, Ecuador. The UNASUR head added that Washington and Caracas should attempt to bridge differences, but stressed that this must be a decision made by each government.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued and signed an executive order Monday that dramatically escalates tensions with Venezuela, just as U.S. relations with Cuba are thawing.
Many leaders and regional organizations have also expressed their solidarity with Venezuela and President Maduro has responded by saying the U.S. measures are intended to topple his government. Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry has recalled its top diplomat in the U.S. for "immediate" consultations following the announcement.