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Latin American Leaders React to Libya Conflict

Coalition operations in Libya to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973 is being met by mixed reaction in the Americas. On the one hand, the leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela have criticized the mission as being a foreign intervention in a domestic Libyan conflict. At the same time, countries such as Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Panama, and Peru have backed the military action to varying degrees. Colombia, for example, voted in favor of the resolution, while others abstained from taking a position.  The mixed reaction may be traced to differing perspectives on state rights to self-determination regardless of political ideologies. 

Brazil, a rotating member of the UN Security Council, abstained from the vote approving military intervention in Libya, but clarified that their abstention should not be seen as approval of the Gadaffi regime or as "negligence" of the need to protect Libyan civilians.  The Brazilian Foreign Ministry further stated that their abstention was based on the uncertainty that military intervention would bring about the "immediate end to the violence or that it would protect civilians."  Brazil issued a statement calling for a ceasefire in Libya on Monday, following President Obama’s departure from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Other Latin American leaders have been more aggressive in their reaction to the Security Council's actions.  Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa called the military action "unacceptable," and Bolivian President Evo Morales called for Obama's Nobel Peace Prize to be rescinded while criticizing the United Nations and the Security Council for adding to global insecurity.  Paraguayan Chancellor Jorge Lara Castro struck a more diplomatic chord saying that approval of joint military action "reflected a weakness of the United Nations" while calling for "diplomatic negotiations to prevail."

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Brazil, United Nations, United States, foreign policy

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