“We have never disregarded the authority and legitimacy of the elected government in Venezuela, so we never recognized Guaidó (…) there is an electoral process underway and it must be respected (…) neither I nor anyone has to tell Venezuelans what to do,” said Argentine President Alberto Fernández in an interview with Victor Hugo Morales of AM 750 on July 16, an Argentine radio station.
The free autonomy of the people and the non-meddling in the internal affairs of other countries are two historic pillars of Argentina’s foreign policy. However, during the government of former president Mauricio Macri, these principles were altered. Macri’s administration allied with the Lima Group, an organization of the conservative governments in Latin America that has the support of the United States, and aligned the country’s foreign policy with the US interests to intensify attacks against Venezuela.
Without withdrawing from the Lima Group but being absent from its meetings, Argentina has taken a different stance regarding the attacks that Venezuela suffers.
One of the first gestures of this changed stance was witnessed when the Minister of Communication of Venezuela, Jorge Rodríguez, traveled to Argentina to attend Fernández’s swearing in ceremony.
A second gesture was observed as soon as Fernández’s government took office and withdrew the “special mission” status granted to Elisa Trotta Gamus, who was sent by the self-proclaimed President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, as his country’s representative in Buenos Aires.
Recently, on July 15, in Geneva, Argentina’s UN Ambassador, Federico Villegas, at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, said that “in the face of Venezuela’s serious political, economic and humanitarian crisis, we echo the report of the High Commissioner (Michelle Bachelet) to seek inclusive political negotiation based on human rights and the restitution of political rights.”
However, the hegemonic media that sought to amplify these statements omitted that Argentina’s position also implies the recognition of Nicolás Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela, the legality of the call for parliamentary elections by the Bolivarian government on December 6 this year, the condemnation of the blockade and the economic sanctions, which exacerbated the suffering of the Venezuelan population. With these steps, Argentina returned to its principle of non-intervention.
President Alberto Fernández himself came out to clarify Argentina’s position on Venezuela. “Argentina ratified its decision to preserve human rights in any sphere and government,” he said. He also pointed out the concern about the economic blockade and said “it is a punishment that the Venezuelan people do not deserve.”
He also expressed that he was in favor of recovering the political dialogue in Venezuela without the interference of foreign powers. “Who am I to tell Venezuelans what they have to do. Neither I nor (Donald) Trump nor anyone else,” said the Argentine head of state.
In a continent that has turned to the right, Argentina and Mexico find themselves alone in their desire to rebuild the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). With the differences within the ruling coalition, Frente de Todos, Argentina will walk a wide avenue in the center where it will maintain its position of condemning sanctions and blockades against both Venezuela and Cuba, rejecting the attempts of foreign intervention, while avoiding sticking to Chavismo.