The president of Venezuela on Saturday warned that his government would interpret the triggering of a 1947 mutual defense pact between many nations in the Americas as a hostile act.
Nicolás Maduro was referring to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR in its Spanish acronym), popularly known as the Rio Treaty – whose core principle is the so-called "hemispheric defense" doctrine establishing an attack against any of its signatories as an attack against all – from which Venezuela withdrew in 2013 but the opposition-controlled National Assembly recently voted to re-join.
"Any attempt to implement the TIAR within Venezuela must be considered, in accordance with the Constitution, as a hostile act against our national sovereignty and an aggression on the territory, people, peace and international law," Maduro said during an event at the country's biggest army barracks.
On Tuesday, a majority of lawmakers in the National Assembly approved Venezuela's reincorporation to the pact in a special street session held at a square in east Caracas.
The speaker of the legislative body, Juan Guaidio – who is recognized as Venezuela's interim president by more than 50 countries – rushed the bill through the assembly without allowing amendments.
"It's not magic," he told thousands of opposition supporters gathered at the Afredo Sadel Square.
The Rio Treaty contemplates the possibility of military cooperation and Maduro's backers have expressed their fear that it could be used as a conduit for foreign troops to invade the country.
Maduro himself described the parliament's decision as "an act of clownery" and accused the opposition of engaging in "extremist politics for minorities."
He added that the intelligence agency SEBIN was ready to detain "the criminals who want Venezuela to be invaded."
The Rio Treaty was denounced in 2012 by the left-wing governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela in 2012, who questioned why it had not been invoked during the 1982 Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom. EFE-EPA