Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou warned South American leaders that they should not "cover the sun with a finger" on the human rights situation in Venezuela, within the framework of the regional summit held in Brasilia on Tuesday.
The meeting convened by the Brazilian Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, also attended by the presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernández; Bolivia, Luis Arce; Chile, Gabriel Boric; Colombia, Gustavo Petro; Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso; Guyana, Irfaan Ali; Paraguay: Mario Abdo Benítez; Suriname, Chan Santokhi, and Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.
Although the sessions are behind closed doors and there is no official transmission, Lacalle Pou's statements were published in a video broadcast on the Internet and whose veracity was confirmed to EFE by the Uruguayan Presidency.
Lacalle Pou even alluded to the bilateral meeting that Lula had with Maduro on Monday, in which the Brazilian president described as "narratives" the criticisms about the lack of democratic guarantees or violations of human rights in Venezuela.
All the presidents in Brasilia, with Lula da Silva at the center. Photo EFE
"This meeting was preceded, I don't know if planned or not, by a bilateral meeting between Brazil and Venezuela. I was surprised when they talked about what is happening in Venezuela is a narrative," Lacalle said in front of the other presidents.
According to the Uruguayan president, "if there are so many groups in the world trying to negotiate so that democracy is full in Venezuela" and "that human rights are respected, so that there are no political prisoners, the worst thing we can do is cover the sun with a finger."
Lacalle Pou explained that Uruguay maintains diplomatic relations with Venezuela and has an ambassador in Caracas, but assured that the "affinity" of Uruguayans "is with the Venezuelan people."
He stressed that it is not in his hands "to elect a government", but that he does have "the possibility of expressing an opinion", after which he questioned one of the points of a joint declaration being negotiated at the Brasilia summit.
The declaration, according to Lacalle Pou, "speaks of democracy, speaks of human rights and speaks of celebrating institutions," but from his point of view it does not end up reflecting the Venezuelan situation.
Luis Lacalle Pou and Lula in Brasilia. Photo Reuters
"Obviously, we do not have the same definition, which I think is one in the Royal Spanish Academy, ofwhat respect for institutions, human rights and democracy are," the Uruguayan president said in the video.
Criticism of more institutions
Luis Lacalle Pou asked his South American counterparts in Brasilia on Tuesday to use the regional integration mechanisms that already exist and stop creating new institutions because they end up being "ideological clubs."
"Chega (in Portuguese) of institutions! No more institutions! (...) If not, we end up being ideological clubs, which have life and community as long as we mace ideologies," Lacalle Pou told a dozen leaders of the region, according to a video of his speech broadcast on his social networks.
Except for the words of the host, Brazilian Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the speeches of the leaders were behind closed doors.
"Let's use the mechanisms we have, the institutions in which we participate, and welcome the leadership of the great nations," Lacalle Pou said in reference to the initiative that Lula has taken to integrate the region.
"I think we must stop this tendency to create organizations, let's go to actions," added the Uruguayan.
At the opening of the summit, Lula proposed creating a "high-level group", made up of representatives of the presidents, to prepare within 120 days a new "roadmap for the integration of South America".
Lula made a long review of the various attempts in South America to achieve true integration, frustrated since the 1960s, and said that the region can no longer wait to overcome in conditions of unity the social abysses that persist "since colonialism."