A score of presidents gathered in the Spain and the Americas Democratic Initiative (IDEA) defined Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as "criminal states" today and urged the political parties of those countries to "safeguard" democracy.
In a declaration, signed by 21 former presidents, they regretted that the three countries "persecute, torture and even murder their dissidents as State policies."
The statement follows the forum held this week in Miami to analyze whether democracies are "kidnapped" by organized crime in the region, which analyzed mainly the "institutionalization" of drug trafficking in Venezuela.
The former presidents pointed out that these are "criminal states established in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua that sow terror and misery to their people."
They also pointed out that they represent a threat to the region since "they violate freedoms, and disseminate their harmful effects towards other countries of the region, affecting them in their governance and social stability".
In the declaration, the presidents make a call to "protect and safeguard" democracy in the face of the deterioration it has suffered in some Ibero-American countries that have become failed states kidnapped by organized crime.
They warned that "in many countries the popular support and the prestige of democracy have diminished and the disenchantment with the politicians and state actors grows in the same way as the morbidity of corruption is generalized".
The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, and Latin American presidents attended the forum, organized by IDEA.
The declaration was signed by: Óscar Arias, Rafael Ángel Calderón, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez and Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica), José María Aznar (Spain), Nicolás Ardito Barletta and Mireya Moscoso (Panama), Belisario Betancur, César Gaviria, Andrés Pastrana and Álvaro Uribe (Colombia), Enrique Bolaños (Nicaragua), Alfredo Cristiani (El Salvador), Fernando de la Rúa (Argentina), Vicente Fox (Mexico), Eduardo Frei (Chile), Osvaldo Hurtado and Jamil Mahuad (Ecuador), Luis Alberto Lacalle (Uruguay), Jorge Tuto Quiroga (Bolivia) and Juan Carlos Wasmosy (Paraguay).
Former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana speaks during his participation in the forum "Are the Latin American democracies kidnapped by organized crime?" Which, led by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, was held on Tuesday October 23, 2018, at Miami Dade College (MDC) in Miami, Florida. "Nicolás Maduro is the new Pablo Escobar," because it means "a regional threat," Colombian President Andres Pastrana said today when speaking about the Venezuelan leader in a forum on democracy in Latin America that takes place in Miami.
In the opinion of the former conservative leader, Venezuela, along with the Mexican drug cartels and the Colombian guerrillas FARC and ELN, "want to turn Colombia into a narco-state." Venezuela is not just the humanitarian crisis and the exodus of thousands of people fleeing the country, it is an element of regional destabilization, he stressed.
Pastrana said that in the year 2000, a year after the coming to power of Hugo Chávez, there was no drug trafficking in Venezuela, but then the late Venezuelan president created corridors protected by the Military Forces for drugs and gave territory to the Colombian guerrillas.
"Venezuela transformed into be a narco-state in a very short period," said the former Colombian president, who compared Maduro, Chávez's successor in the Venezuelan presidency, with the head of the Medellín cartel, Pablo Escobar.
"Pablo (Escobar) dreamed of money laundering" the funds he obtained with drug trafficking, now "the largest money launderer is called PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela)" and those who govern in that country that "have seized all the powers."