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MERIDA, Venezuela– The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) of which Suriname became a member earlier this year, has taken a wait-and-see stance on the regional rejection of the U.S. government’s decision to impose unilateral sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). The U.S. government accuses the Venezuelan firm of sending two cargo ships to Iran delivering $50 million US worth of reformate – a gasoline blending component used to improve the quality of gasoline.
It weren’t just the Venezuelans who the US gave a slap on the wrist. Six other international firms were also sanctioned; PCCI (Jersey/Iran), the Real Oyster Group (United Arab Emirates), Speedy Ship (United Arab Emirates/Iran), Tanker Pacific (Singapore), Ofer Brothers Group (Israel), and Associated Shipbroking (Monaco). All are accused by the U.S. of helping to “facilitate Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions.”
UNASUR is monitoring the situation but has not adopted an official standpoint yet. Suriname joined this body in January this year. Suriname also in March this year signed a covenant with Caribbean oil alliance PetroCaribe that will see the alliance supplying Suriname with fuel.
Venezuela Analysis reports that the US sanctions on the Venezuelan oil company met region wide opposition; on Wednesday May 25th the Latin American nations that make up the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA) expressed their “most firm” collective rejection of the U.S. sanctions imposed on PDVSA. They went on to insist that the U.S. “bring a definitive end to its acts of aggression against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and show an unrestricted respect for the decisions taken by our countries in the exercise of our national sovereignty.”
In addition to the ALBA statement, Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry called the U.S. sanctions a “violation of international law” and a group of Chilean lawmakers called the U.S. decision “an aggression not only against Venezuela, but against all Latin American countries.”
The Chilean legislators called the U.S. decision “an aggression not only against Venezuela, but against all Latin American countries.” They said the sanctions are “just the beginning of a blockade with both political and military objectives,” affirming that U.S. policy towards Venezuela and other OPEC nations worldwide “has only one name, one objective, one common denominator: oil.”
Speaking to the press on Thursday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro reiterated Venezuela’s rejection of the U.S. sanctions and described plans underway to prevent what he called “U.S. meddling in the region’s internal affairs.”
Ecuador, an ALBA nation, issued its own statement of rejection in which the country’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “concern for the possible negative effects” that U.S. sanctions could have on the “social and economic development of those nations affected, especially the brother nation of Venezuela.”
Ecuador went to affirm that, “because PDVSA is a Venezuelan state enterprise, not an enterprise of transnational interests, the (U.S.) sanctions are also in violation of the fundamental principles of international law codified in the Charter of the United Nations and particularly in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.”
Suriname is joined in UNASUR by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela and Colombia, with Paraguay and Brazil still needing to approve the founding charter. In Petrocaribe, Suriname is joined by Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and, Saint Lucia are also signatories.