Carlos Vecchio, the ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the United States appointed by the Interim President Juan Guaidó, said in an interview granted to Efe that the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR), which provides for mutual defense between the signatory nations facing armed attacks, is meant as a “scaffolding” to end suffering in Venezuela.
“The fundamental thing is to stop the suffering of the people and this treaty gives the necessary scaffolding to adopt such measures”, Vecchio said of the proposal to activate the TIAR, in response to the crisis in his country “where suffering in not counted in days but deaths”, he added
The Mission accredited by President Guaido before the Organization of American States (OAS) announced on Monday that it had requested, with the support of ten of the nineteen signatory countries of the TIAR, the convening of the consultation body of that mechanism in search of its activation.
“This is an important step that we have taken as American or Latin American countries that are dealing with the deep crisis that our country is experiencing”, said the representative in Washington of Guaido, the leader recognized by the US. and more than 50 countries as interim president of Venezuela.
Vecchio, who is also leader of the Popular Will party, in exile since 2014, considered that the TIAR “is an instrument that can be used when the peace of the continent is at risk or is believed as threatened.”
“I think the Venezuelan crisis demands it”, he said.
In that sense, he pointed out that Nicolás Maduro, “is no longer a threat only to Venezuelans, it is (a threat) for the entire continent”. “And I think that is the main thing that we have to understand in the region”, said the ambassador .
Vecchio said Maduro accepts terrorist groups in Venezuela and allows drug trafficking, while the crisis creates health problems for Venezuelans, who are being driven to other countries.
“This is a problem of the democratic world against this criminal dictatorship”, justified the diplomat, who said that with the TIAR they seek to increase the pressure and make “a complete siege” to the Maduro Government, already punished with sanctions by US, Canada, Europe and other Latin American countries.
“This crisis cannot be ignored, this crisis is killing people. That is, we do not count days in Venezuela, but deaths, and I think that countries cannot leave that aside”, complained Vecchio, who added that Venezuela is living “the largest refugee crisis ever” on the continent, the second in the world behind Syria “and, if Maduro continues, it will be the first worldwide.”
Regarding the efforts before the Administration of the US president, Donald Trump, to guarantee the permanence of Venezuelans in the US, Vecchio said they work in two paths: that Washington accepts the expired passports of its compatriots and that also provides a legal status for them.
“We are working on giving legal status to Venezuelans, that none be deported and that they can work here as a sign of solidarity, because at the end of the day Venezuelans are our internal mobilization force to continue exerting international pressure to attract the attention of the crisis that is happening”, said Vecchio, who hoped there would be a “positive outcome” to agree on a “mechanism” that facilitates this permanence.
In parallel, they have explored a route through Congress and the possibility of granting Venezuelans Temporary Protection Status (TPS).
“There are two paths,” he said, “that lead to the same outcome.”
Regarding the recent announcement by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry usurper, Jorge Arreaza, to provide attention to the Venezuelan community in the US, Vecchio said it is a “double speech” and “manipulation.”
“These gentlemen, Arreaza, the usurpation they have in Venezuela, does not give response even in Venezuela. When you are going to get a passport in Venezuela and they do not give it to you or you have to pay 4,000 dollars through a corruption scheme, that is the reality of the Venezuelan”, Vecchio lamented, after thanking the the US will accept the use of expired passports.
Furthermore, he confirmed that they have opened a digital registry of their community in the United States, estimated unofficially at some 600,000 Venezuelans, while working on the recovery of US diplomatic offices, which are now in charge of the delegation he leads.
About the diversion of funds from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in principle assigned to Central America to support President Guaido, said he has no information.
“We have nothing official about that”, he said, “so it is good to consult with them (the Trump Administration), we are open to the support of all countries who can support us and have been doing so.”