Latin American Leaders Reject Intervention in Libya, Back Mediation

Mexico City (Xinhua): Latin American leaders have voiced their objection to any military intervention in unrest-torn Libya amid increasing calls for military actions to stop the spreading violence in the North African country.

Most Latin American leaders agreed that military intervention would only prolong the conflict in Libya and peaceful mediation is the best way to deal with the situation.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has proposed to send a delegation to Tripoli to mediate between the forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the rebels. The initiative has been applauded by a number of countries in the region.

Chavez’s proposal came as NATO was discussing a military intervention in Libya to stop the country’s violence.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said “the self-determination of the people must be respected so that countries can choose for themselves what economic models and choice of government are the most convenient.”

“When threats of military interventions emerge, it is necessary for the whole nation to stand together in unity to defend their sovereignty,” Morales, who met with Gaddafi during the Libyan leader’s visit to Bolivia two years ago, told reporters in the capital La Paz.

“We are against the civil war in Libya, and in favor of an immediate peace and the full respect for the lives and rights of all citizens, without foreign intervention,” Fidel Castro, former Cuban leader, said in Havana.

Cuba “fully supports the courageous position of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez,” Castro added.

In Montevideo, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica welcomed the initiative, saying Uruguay firmly supports a mediation effort led by Latin America so as to avoid any further loss of life.

Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro said an intervention in Libya “could not be backed under any circumstances” and Uruguay “appeals to the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to promote a constructive dialogue that allows for a peaceful solution to the crisis.”

Leaders of Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico have not expressed support for the Chavez initiative, but many regional leaders, including those of Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, consider themselves as friends of Gaddafi and have developed increasingly close economic and political cooperation with Libya in recent years.

“I have been speaking with Gaddafi, he is again fighting a great battle,” Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega told fellow lawmakers in Managua during a political meeting earlier this week.

Despite their opposition against military intervention, all leaders condemned the violence and the loss of human lives in the North African country in the last few weeks.


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