LATIN AMERICA’S anti-imperialist bloc backed Venezuela against regional opponents on Tuesday as support for the divided opposition ebbed.
Foreign ministers of the 11-nation Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America gathered in Caracas for an extraordinary meeting.
In a statement they hailed the July 30 elections to the new National Constituent Assembly — called to amend the constitution and chart a path out of the national crisis — as “an authentic act of sovereignty.”
They labelled retaliatory US sanctions on President Nicolas Maduro and others “arbitrary and illegal,” a “flagrant violation of international law” and an “unacceptable interventionist implementation” intended to “change the regime.”
But, on the same day, a summit of 17 regional opponents in Peru’s capital Lima agreed 16 measures against Venezuela, including rejecting the new assembly and labelling Mr Maduro’s elected government a “dictatorship.”
Meanwhile the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry condemned EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini’s claim on Monday that the assembly’s decisions reduce the possibility of a “peaceful return to the democratic order.”
In a statement the ministry said: “The effect of these decisions has indisputably been the very opposite to those grim predictions.” Only a few dozen people turned out for Tuesday’s latest street blockade protest called by the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mud) coalition.
It was the latest sign of dwindling support for the Mud’s four-month campaign of bloody riots and economic disruption to overthrow the government that have left 124 dead.
The opposition is reportedly divided over whether to stand in December’s gubernatorial elections.
Since the July 30 election there has only been one protest death, that of Progressive Advance (AP) local leader Ramon Rivas on Sunday.
He was shot during a demonstration outside the Fort Paramacay army base in Carabobo state, shortly after an attack by 20 mercenaries led by Miami-based fugitive former army captain Juan Caguaripano.
Two were killed and eight captured, but 10 who escaped were granted sanctuary on properties belonging to the Catholic church just 100 yards from the base, army commander Major General Jesus Suarez said on Tuesday.
A stolen off-road vehicle, loaded with military equipment, was reportedly discovered nearby.