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Venezuela to Host “Anti-Imperialist” Summit in Desperate Attempt to Rally Support

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Sep 8, 2016, 10:17 am
The government of Nicolas Maduro will receive between the 13 and 18 of September more than 100 "third world countries" in an event that has been "ignored" by traditional media (Telesur)
Nicolas Maduro will receive more than 100 “third world countries”this month (Telesur)

EspañolThe Summit of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) will begin this month on Margarita Island in Venezuela.

Maduro’s administration will try to juggle its 20-percent approval rating in response to 80-percent scarcity while also receiving more than 100 countries between between  September 13 and 18.

NAM is a political forum comprised of 120 member countries, representing the interests of developing nations on several continents. Venezuela will receive the bloc presidency from the government of Iran for the next three years until the next summit scheduled for 2019.

Margarita, like most parts of Venezuela, suffers from instability both politically and economically. Supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries and pharmacies are often empty, forcing people to wait in long lines and to protest for drinkable water.

With just two weeks to the summit, the island was witness to a massive protest in which the people of Villa Rosa managed to expel Nicolás Maduro after he lost control and physically assaulted citizens in the area.

Venezuela is under international scrutiny for its alleged human rights violations, a situation that has forced critics to call into question its credibility and ability to host the summit.

Many economists have pointed out that Venezuela does not have the funding to be a proper host to such a large international gathering.

The Ministry of Interior and Justice recently announced a large deployment of security for the summit: more than 14,000 men in the armed forces, 11 mobile units across 16 hotels and 414 surveillance cameras “monitoring 24 hours.”

Food and other goods has been rushed to the island in anticipation of the summit.

Journalist María Teresa Romero said the summit in Venezuela will only set back Maduro’s popularity, as many within the government deem it “irresponsible” to spend so much money on an event such as this while people are starving.

“The Non-Aligned Movement does not mean much in the international arena,” Romero said. “I do not think it is an event of great significance, though Maduro will try to show that he has great international support.”

Countries like China, Russia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia will most likely support Maduro at the summit, he said, not that this is anything new.

Venezuelan Diego Arria, who was Ambassador and UN President of the Security Council, said Maduro will use the summit to gain even more support, though he said he doubted it will ever be considered strong on an international scale.

“These are countries with the same ideological alignment and the international community knows perfectly well who and what these nations are,” he said.

Venezuelan Ambassador Sadio Garavini said the summit has become an event lacking in prestige, without the support of major international organizations such as the UN, OAS or the European Union.

He said that this event has become a meeting of underdeveloped countries in which no issues of great importance are discussed.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what space the international press gives this meeting,” he added. “I think it will receive a very low level exposure.”

Maduro is expected to focus on the issues of sovereignty and non-intervention.

Professor of the Chair of Political Sociology at the Catholic University Andres Bello (UCAB) Jorge Tricás said that most of the countries planning on attending lack any democratic prestige in the first place.

“Quantity does not equal quality,” Tricás said of the 120 countries expected to attend.

“Prestigious international organizations like the UN and the OAS are governed by principles such as human rights and political freedoms, and those are not exactly the guidelines of these Non-Aligned countries.”

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.