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Argentina wants to “recover the full bond with Venezuela” | International

The presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernández (left) and of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, participate in a joint press conference at the Casa Rosada, seat of the Government in Buenos Aires, on April 18, 2022.
The presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernández (left) and of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, participate in a joint press conference at the Casa Rosada, seat of the Government in Buenos Aires, on April 18, 2022.MARCOS BRINDICCI (AFP)

Argentina wants to “regain its diplomatic ties with Venezuela.” This was announced by its president, Alberto Fernández, at a joint press conference with the Ecuadorian Guillermo Lasso, on an official visit to the Casa Rosada. The Argentine Executive had already advanced in March its intention to appoint an ambassador in Caracas, but it is the first time that it has extended the call to the entire region. “I call on all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to rethink this, and I made this same proposal today. [por el lunes] to President Lasso.” The Ecuadorian said that he sees the idea “with good eyes”, but he immediately clarified that his government “is not yet ready to make a decision.”

The Argentine delegation in Caracas has been in the hands of a business attaché since 2015, when the government of the liberal Mauricio Macri decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with Nicolás Maduro as much as possible. With the return of Kirchnerism to the Casa Rosada, the situation did not improve as much as might have been expected. The Fernández government has supported Maduro in the OAS, but has voted against him in the UN. Relations are colored by the internal pressures that Fernández suffers. The president must satisfy, on the one hand, the government groups closest to Caracas, represented by hard Kirchnerism, and, on the other, maintain good relations with the United States, a key country in the agreement that Argentina has just closed with the IMF . This Monday, however, he said that it was time to “talk about Venezuela.”

“Venezuela has gone through difficult times. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, has taken action on the matter and worked with the Government. Many of those problems have dissipated over time and we are seeing how the agreements have moved him forward in his electoral process. We believe that it is time to help and that in the dialogue it recovers its normal functioning as a country and as a society. We are not going to achieve it if we leave it alone, without ambassadors and without our attention,” Fernández said.

The Argentine currently holds the temporary presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and from there it intends to add other countries to the initiative. Lasso took up the gauntlet, spoke of the need to “rebuild unity” in Latin America, but preferred not to delve into the Venezuelan issue. “It is an issue that we are going to analyze, consider, we are not ready to make a decision, but we welcome President Fernández’s call,” he said.

The Argentine proposal coincides with a process of dialogue between Chavismo and the opposition and a relaxation of relations between Caracas and Washington, as a result of the needs of the United States to supply the supply of crude since the beginning of the Russian war against Ukraine. It also serves to give luster to Argentine foreign policy, immersed in a relaunch of the multilateral institutions of the region. Fernández received weeks ago in Buenos Aires the Chilean Gabriel Boric and the Bolivian Luis Arce. To both of them he presented his thesis of unity.

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