A group of 12 countries in the region approved on Wednesday at the Organization of American States (OAS) the activation of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Tiar). This seeks to put more pressure on the regime of Nicolás Maduro, in Venezuela.
Those who voted in favor were Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela (with the representative of the president in charge of that country, Juan Guaidó), Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Mexico maintained a tough oppositional stance.
The Tiar is an agreement that was signed in 1947 and is even prior to the founding of the OAS. It is currently made up of 19 countries that have ratified it, including Colombia.
The rationale for Tiar is that any attack against one of the member countries is considered an attack against everyone and commits them to take measures, including the use of force, to defend the affected State.
In the case of Venezuela, the proponents used article 6 of the treaty which establishes reasons other than an armed aggression, in its most classical sense, that would lead to the activation of the treaty.
«If the inviolability or integrity of the territory or the sovereignty or political independence of any American State are affected by an aggression that is not an armed attack, or by an extra continental or intracontinental conflict, or by any other fact or situation that may put endangered the peace of America, the Consultative Body will meet immediately, in order to agree on the measures that in case of aggression must be taken in aid of the victim or in any case those that should be taken for the common defense and for the maintenance of the peace and security of the Continent, «says the article in question.
According to the resolution adopted, that would already be happening, because «the crisis in Venezuela has a destabilizing impact, representing a clear threat to peace and security in the Hemisphere.»
In addition, it was alleged that the presence of narcoterrorist groups (Farc and Eln), acting in complicity with a government they consider illegitimate, puts not only Venezuela at risk, but neighbors like Colombia.
Unlike the OAS Democratic Charter, whose sanctions are mostly diplomatic, the Tiar offers a wide range of possible actions to stop the aggression.
Among them, the retirement of the chiefs of mission; the rupture of diplomatic relations; the rupture of consular relations; the partial or total interruption of economic relations, or of railway, maritime, air, postal, telegraphic, telephone, radiotelephone or radiotelegraphic communications, and the use of the armed force.
More than the use of force, those who now invoke the treaty point more to measures such as the economic embargo and a maritime blockade, among other things.
To convene a session of the Tiar member countries, affirmative voting of half plus one of its members was necessary. That is 10 members. But for the Tiar Consultation group – composed of the foreign ministers of the member countries – to make decisions, 13 votes or two-thirds are required.
The meeting would take place in two weeks taking advantage of the chancellors will be in New York for the UN Assembly.
Something that is not easy, because its members include Cuba and other Caribbean nations such as Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago, who are reluctant to use this type of measures, especially because of the mention of a possible use of force. The same goes for the current governments of Chile, Peru and Costa Rica. It is feared that another vote will be lost if the left wins the presidential elections in Argentina.
In fact, Costa Rica presented an amendment to the resolution in which the Tiar was convened, in which it requested that this possibility be especially excluded from the group’s discussions.
None of them, except Argentina, supported the resolution to summon the Tiar.
Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela and Haiti (which has just re-entered by decision of the National Assembly) are the other member countries of the Tiar and who voted in favor of the appointment of foreign ministers.