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Venezuela’s Summit Fails to Rally the World’s “Non-Aligned” Leaders

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Sep 16, 2016, 8:45 am
After spending at least US$ 120 millions in the Non-Aligned countries summit, only five chiefs of state attended Maduro's call. The NAM summit was a failure (Fondas)
After spending at least US$120 millions in the Non-Aligned countries summit, only five chiefs of state have so far attended Maduro’s calling. (Fondas)

EspañolThe Summit of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) continues this week through September 18, with 120 delegations expected to convene on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

However, less than half of the delegations and only five heads of state are in attendance for the event which is estimated to have cost crisis-ridden Venezuela as much as US$120 million.

NAM is a political forum comprised of 120 member countries across all continents that do not align themselves with or against any major power bloc. Venezuela receives the presidency of the organization from Iran for the next three years.

The five heads of state in attendence include: Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Asia Hasan Rouhani of Iran and the President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas as well as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez was in attendance, though whether Venezuela’s major ally Raúl Castro joined him has not yet been confirmed.

Nicaragua’s Vice President Moses Omar Acevedo was in attendance, but the attendance of President Daniel Ortega, another supporter of Nicolás Maduro, was not confirmed.

One notable absence was Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. He sent his vice president, according to the newspaper The Hindu.

According to Deputy Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada, the turnout is more or less satisfactory. He stressed that there are 170 participants, despite the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) indicating that only 11 high-level delegations are present.

The Venezuelan News Agency reported that the official opening will be attended by foreign ministers of NAM. Saturday will be the meeting of heads of state for which only the above are attending so far.

According to state media, the summit ends September 18. They are expected to discuss the refugee crisis,  the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and alleged US interference in Latin America.

At the 2012 summit held in Iran, 24 heads of state attended, three kings and Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon.

Silence = Failure?

Nicolás Maduro and his administration prepared to welcome more than 10,000 people to Margarita Island, with 16 hotels and an increase in military presence that number up to 14,000 soldiers.

A giant statue of the deceased socialist leader Hugo Chávez was also erected.

Official media reports do not detail how many delegations are attending the event. Instead, statements have been imprecise, assuring that the call was a success with no specific statistics.

Maduro had even offered presidents of each country private airplanes to transport them to Venezuela, which the opposition reportedly claimed was an attempt to entice leaders to come instead of representatives.

However, the summit is poorly planned as sessions at the United Nations have just begun.

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

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