Regional top diplomats reject Venezuela assembly

From the Washington PostForeign ministers from 17 Western Hemisphere nations are condemning Venezuela’s new constitutional assembly, saying their governments will refuse to recognize the all-powerful body.

The statement came Tuesday evening after the Venezuelan assembly declared itself superior to all other branches of government.

The top diplomats met in Peru’s capital to discuss Venezuela’s political upheaval. They expressed support for renewed negotiations between the government and opposition, though previous talks have failed.

The ministers represented Mexico, Canada, Argentina and other regional nations. But while many Latin American nations have denouncing embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s recent moves to consolidate power, the region has found it tricky to formulate a collective response. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.