Venezuela's Objections to the Category of 'Emerging Threats'

Following the spaghetti trails of binational and international policy groups in the Americas, we find a “Declaration of San Carlos” adopted on March 24, 2006 by the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE). Venezuela’s footnotes to the declaration suggest some discomfort with the emerging anti-terrorism category of “emerging threats.”
This is an international, rather than multinational initiative, since it falls under the Organization of American States (OAS).

Interesting to find are three objections in the form of footnotes from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The first objection concerns wording of a paragraph that connects terrorism to “illicit drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in arms, money laundering, and other forms of transnational organized crime.” Such wording, says Venezuela, “is geared toward pointing out a direct and permanent connection between terrorism and transnational organized crime, as that entails a repudiation of the norms of due process and the presumption of innocence‚ÄĒuniversally recognized principles in the area of human rights.”

The second objection concerns the category of “Emerging Threats.” Venezuela refuses to support the framework of this category, “because no common definition is given of emerging threats and because it introduces elements that are not consistent with the realities of the Hemisphere and that are disproportionate with regard to one another, by their nature and according to the provisions of the Declaration on Security in the Americas.”

Concerns embraced by the category of “emerging threats” do seem to be “disproportionate to one another” if you compare security for the 2007 Cricket World Cup alongside weapons of mass destruction. As for its reference to “elements that are not consistend with the realities of the Hemisphere” it is more difficult to see what Venezuela intends. Perhaps this is a reference to the category’s preoccupation with cyberterrorism. Perhaps it has more to do with the issues that surround nuclear materials (see below).

One interesting phrase under “emerging threats” defers to “each state” to define “emerging threats” according to its own laws. We read in this language the influence of the USA.

In objection three, Venezuela returns to the category of “emerging threats” in order to single out disapproval of the reference to UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004). The resolution pertains to “proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons”. This category rings familiar as a motivation (or pretext) most vigorously applied by the USA to Iraq and Iran. Does Venezuela worry that such powerful linkages between emerging threats, nuclear and chemical materials, and pre-emptive warfare may soon go South?

Instead of viewing nuclear issues in terms of “emerging threats”, Venezuela’s footnote encourages a framework established in 1967 by the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean in the form of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, a self-adopted prohibition of nuclear weapons from the region.

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