Essentially, no platform for debate should be abandoned because this provokes a negative reaction from the international community that legitimizes the opposing side’s argument.

Since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution, relations between the governments of Venezuela and the United States have been mired in conflict. As a result of this reality, political dialogue between the two countries is scarce and is conducted only by diplomatic or governmental representatives.

However, as a constitutional lawyer, an international relations professor and a common “chavista”* (a simple citizen who possesses revolutionary militancy), I willingly participate and will continue to participate in dialogue and debates with citizens and diplomats from the United States who, in inviting me to do so, are demonstrating their interest in studying and proposing solutions to the controversies that exist between both nations.

Needless to say, I have always been willing to debate with people of all nationalities due to my socialist and anti-imperialist beliefs as a Venezuelan citizen who advocates world peace. My willingness to discuss and debate does not exclude citizens of the United States, a country I feel an affinity for due to my studies in comparative law, culture and language teaching.

In this context, I recently held a debate on U.S. state television, specifically on the Voice of America channel, with the former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States and Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, about the recent discrepancy by the OAS regarding the current situation in Venezuela.

As we all know, Noriega was the chief government official in charge of Latin American affairs under former President George W. Bush’s administration, among other important responsibilities. Following my televised debate with this American diplomat, I have reached the following conclusions:

In a confused setting, the U.S. government is supporting the initiative of the current secretary general of the OAS, Luis Almagro, attempting to bring diplomatic sanctions against Venezuela without sufficient legal grounds to do so. This has forced the Venezuelan government to formally denounce this diplomatic plot against Venezuela’s sovereignty and independence in every international forum.

Considering that Almagro recently invoked Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter in order to discuss a supposed breakdown of constitutional order in Venezuela for which Nicolas Maduro’s government is being blamed, it is vital that this despicable manipulation on the part of Almagro is denounced as an act of fraud against international law before the United Nations itself and certainly before the new sovereign mechanisms for regional integration in Latin America such as the Union of South American Nations and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States where the United States’ neocolonial influence does not hold sway.

Venezuela must now defend itself to the OAS, invoking Article 18 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which establishes a preliminary stage of analysis of any problems occurring in member states before bringing sanctions of any kind, unless they are brought by the state in question itself and not a third party. To this end, the article is explicit.

Within Venezuela, it is essential to dispel the myths surrounding this so-called Democratic Charter and place it in its proper context, showing both “chavistas” and opponents that the legal instrument in question does not in itself imply a military intervention against Venezuela, but rather an action meant to smear our country’s diplomatic reputation that may lead to international isolation and the justification of an economic embargo in the future, just like the United States’ embargo against Cuba.

We will not take impulsive or severe actions that could see Venezuela excluding itself from the OAS. Diplomacy is the science of intellectuals and our revolutionary government must continue practicing this science in a professional manner within the OAS while denouncing what must be denounced. Essentially, no platform for debate should be abandoned because this provokes a negative reaction from the international community that legitimizes the opposing side’s argument.

The legal representation of the nation before the international community is the constitutional responsibility of the president of Venezuela, meaning only Maduro or an official chosen by Maduro can speak on behalf of our country in external matters. Therefore, legal proceedings should also be taken against Henry Ramos Allup, the president of the National Assembly, for his systematically claiming the right to represent Venezuela before the OAS and other multilateral requests. The overtaking of public office cannot be tolerated.

*Translator’s Note: A chavista is a supporter of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his style of government.