President Lula comments on disagreements about situation in Venezuela

He reiterated the importance of respect for the countries' sovereignty

Published on 31/05/2023 - 12:21 By Pedro Rafael Vilela - Agência Brasil - Brasília

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Tuesday night (May 30) that the meeting of 11 South American presidents, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brasília, was not a gathering of friends, but rather of leaders of countries in search of regional coordination. It was an answer to questions about disagreements with other presidents present at the summit.

The presidents of Chile, Gabriel Boric, and Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, reacted to Lula's statements after his meeting with Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro the day before the summit. On Monday (29), the Brazilian president argued that Venezuela should present its own "narrative" on the country's political and economic situation to counter the negative narratives made by opponents on the international scene.

"I was surprised when it was said that what happens in Venezuela is a narrative construct. Anyone knows what we think about Venezuela and the Venezuelan government," said Uruguayan President Lacalle Pou during his speech at the summit.

Chilean leader Gabriel Boric echoed this same sentiment and stated, "I respectfully express that I have a discrepancy with what President Lula said, in the sense that the human rights situation in Venezuela was a narrative construct, it is not a narrative construct, it is a reality, it is serious, and I had the opportunity to see, I saw the horror of the Venezuelans. That issue requires a firm position."

During a press conference following the summit, Lula was asked about the disagreements. He emphasized the pluralistic nature of the meeting by highlighting the importance of allowing individuals to express their opinions and disagreements.

"Maduro is part of this continent of ours. There was a lot of respect for Maduro's participation. Nobody is obliged to agree with anyone. That's how we go along," added the president.

Lula further defended the principle of respecting the sovereignty of nations and criticized the inconsistent approach when it comes to regimes deemed authoritarian. "I have always defended the idea that each country is sovereign to decide its political model, its internal matters. The same demand that the world makes for Venezuela, it doesn't make for Saudi Arabia. It is very strange. I want Venezuela to be respected. I want this for Brazil and the whole world," added Lula.

Translation: Mário Nunes -  Edition: Carolina Pimentel/Nira Foster

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