News Release

Enough About Russia? U.S. Openly Interfering in Venezuela, Violating OAS Charter


170321_-_rex_tillerson_-_0535_4e05df9c54c130fbe6673086f1309b33.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated Tuesday afternoon regarding Venezuela: “We are evaluating all of our policy options as to what can we do to create a change of conditions where either [President of Venezuela Nicolas] Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future and wants to leave of his own accord or we can return the government processes back to their constitution.” See video.

The following analysts scrutinize much of Tillerson’s characterization of Venezuela’s election in his remarks, but particularly note that the U.S. government is openly interfering in Venezuela’s electoral system. They also note that this violates the Organization of American States Charter, which unequivocally states:

Article 19: “No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.”

Article 20: “No State may use or encourage the use of coercive measures of an economic or political character in order to force the sovereign will of another State and obtain from it advantages of any kind.”

SUSAN SCOTT,  syscott at
Scott is with the National Lawyers Guild Task Force on the Americas. She questions the legality of U.S. sanctions as well as funding of opposition groups in Venezuela and elsewhere.

DAN KOVALIK, DKovalik at
Kovalik is author of the just-released book The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia. He teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He was just in Venezuela and contrasts focusing on any possible allegation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, while the U.S. government is openly getting away with interfering in Venezuela and elsewhere.

At the White House news conference Monday, Sec. of Treasury Steven Mnuchin was asked:

Q: “Sixteen years ago, Secretary Powell signed an agreement in South America in which the U.S. completely ruled out support of coups that would have an indirect change of government throughout Latin America, and supported direct succession. This occurred in Haiti when President Aristide was overthrown. Are you still abiding by the agreement Secretary Powell signed, and ruling out U.S. support of a coup or of an uprising against the Maduro regime that brings in new leadership?”

Sec. Mnuchin: “Again, I’m just going to comment on — we are focused on the democratic process, and that’s what we’re focused on right now.”

See recent piece by Mark Weisbrot: “Harsher sanctions on Venezuela will only worsen the nation’s crisis,” which states: “Under U.S. law, the president’s executive order has to state an obvious falsehood, that there is ‘a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security’ of the United States caused by Venezuela. And the sanctions clearly violate the Charter of the Organization of American States (Chapter 4, Article 19), as well as other international treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory.”

Background: The Real News reports “Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University looked at U.S. and Russian interference in other countries’ elections since World War II and found that the U.S. was far in the lead, interfering over 80 times.”