Mon, Sep 23, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Colombia’s Duque seeks sanctions on Venezuela

Reuters, BOGOTA

Colombian President Ivan Duque on Saturday called for coordinated international sanctions targeting Venezuela to help stop Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s support for Colombian rebels and drug traffickers from destabilizing Latin America.

Duque, who accuses Maduro of providing a safe haven for rebel fighters from the now-demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the still-active the National Liberation Army, compared Maduro to former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, who was put on trial for alleged war crimes in conflicts that destabilized the Balkans.

“We should look at communal sanctions and actions so that the threat of [Venezuela] protecting terrorism in its territory ends,” Duque said before leaving for New York City to attend the UN General Assembly meeting.

“The international community must understand that the dictatorship has to come to an end soon because the humanitarian tragedy, in addition to the consolidation of a dictatorial regime that is coexisting with drug cartels and with terrorism, is a threat for the whole Western hemisphere and for the stability of the world,” he said.

Maduro accuses Colombia of preparing to attack Venezuela, and has repeatedly warned of an invasion coordinated with the US government.

Latin American countries could invoke the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR), against Maduro, Duque said.

The treaty considers an attack on any of the signatories to be an attack on them all.

“The TIAR has been invoked many times and many times with success, but the invocation of it doesn’t necessarily have to refer in an explicit way to military actions,” Duque said. “What’s important first is coordinated action.”

Most Western nations consider Maduro illegitimate — saying he secured a second term last year via a fraudulent vote.

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