24 Sep 2019
Western Hemisphere nations voted Monday to employ a regional treaty to impose sanctions against embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, accusing his regime of criminal activity including drug trafficking and money laundering.
In a meeting convened by the Organization of American States, 16 of the 19 states party to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, a 1947 pact known as the Rio Treaty, backed using the pact to collaborate on law-enforcement operations and economic sanctions against Mr. Maduro and his associates.
Only Uruguay opposed the resolution, while Trinidad and Tobago abstained and Cuba was absent.
A senior State Department official earlier had expressed confidence that the resolution would secure the requisite 13 votes for passage.
Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, who chaired the session, touted the “immense majority” by which the resolution was approved, and said it marks the start of a broader effort to hold Mr. Maduro’s regime accountable.
Government officials in Caracas didn’t immediately comment on the vote.
But in recent weeks Mr. Maduro and his aides have publicly denounced the Rio Treaty, warning that the U.S. could use it to justify military intervention.
The approval of the resolution, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, follows the initial invocation last week of the Rio Treaty by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the U.S. and 10 other countries.
The Rio Treaty was created as a means of mutual defense for Western Hemisphere countries and was last employed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the invocation of the treaty signals an understanding that the situation in Venezuela threatens the security of the entire region and requires a collective response.
By Courtney McBride, The Wall Street Journal, 23 September 2019
Read more at The Wall Street Journal
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