Not condemning the invasion of Russia into Ukraine is tacit support for the aggressor

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín

The international system that has failed to prevent Russia’s “war of aggression” against Ukraine by activating their mechanisms to condemn and sanction the aggressor has found an overwhelming majority response against the Russian regime, except those States who abstain and -once again- prove that the worldwide confrontation is “dictatorship against democracy”. In international politics, abstaining is not being neutral, and in the case of Russia’s invasion against Ukraine it is complicity with and tacit support for the aggressor, because it is a breach of their obligation to keep peace.

To abstain is “to voluntarily deprive oneself of something” and in the international system it is “the voluntary deprivation of the use of a right, or the execution of something”. To abstain means “passivity to express or decide on an opinion” and “the willingness of not voting on it”, but it is not neutrality because to be neutral is “not to participate in none of the options in conflict”.

In the existing international system, the “maintenance of international peace and security” is an obligation of the States and the governments, this is why a “war of aggression” is expressly prohibited and the only legitimate recourse for the use of force is the “legitimate defense” precisely for cases of aggression.

Russia’s actions against Ukraine are a “crime of a war of aggression, or crime against peace” determined by International Common Law, enforced with sentences of capital punishment by the international tribunals from Nuremberg and Tokyo, based on the United Nations Charter and included as a statutory crime in Article 5 of the Rome Statute. These actions are considered flagrant crimes, meaning that they are proven at the very same moment they are committed.

At the United Nations, the Organization of American States and at the United Nations’ Council of Human Rights, Russian dictatorship’s allied governments, partners and accomplices have chosen to “abstain” (in voting for censorship declarations-sic) as a way to show their sympathy with Russia while, at the same time, continue negotiating, with benefits, with the democratic system.

Proof of the despicable ploy that “abstention” represents, is seen in the dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua who chose “to abstain” after having publicly declared their support and backing of the crime of aggression, against the peace, and against humanity that the Russian dictatorship commits.

Cuba’s dictatorship declared its solidarity with what it calls “Russian peoples’ aspirations” and in its first official statement on the subject, it placed the blame for the war on the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It declared; “the United States’ persistence to continue to pursue the progressive expansion of NATO towards the borders of the Russian Federation, has led to this scenario with unpredictably far-reaching implications that could have been avoided”.

From Nicaragua’s dictatorship, at the first opportunity and using the very same lines of the Cuban dictatorship’s narrative, Daniel Ortega publicly supported the Russian invasion. Venezuela’s dictator Nicolas Maduro, called Putin “to express his solid support” in the midst of the invasion and from Bolivia, the Dictator-In-Chief Evo Morales declared that “Russia did not invade Ukraine but it is establishing sovereignty” and that -repeating the narrative directed by Cuba- the “United States and NATO are the interventionists”.

If we add to the declarations emitted following the Russian invasion to Ukraine, to the previous declarations made by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the use of Venezuela and Cuba’s dictatorships as military platforms for aggression in the Western Hemisphere, the situation clears up but it worsens. The more so, due to the Russian weaponry with which the Nicaraguan dictatorship has been equipped in the past ten years and the progress and on-going Russian construction of a “nuclear power plant” at Bolivia’s altiplano, to take advantage of -along with Iran- the strategic resources of lithium, uranium, and others that Bolivia has at the salt flats of Uyuni.

Dictatorships from 21st Century Socialism, or Castrochavism, in the Americas are part of the non-democratic system that threatens democracy and peace and now, with Russia’s invasion to Ukraine, are structured worldwide. In the particular case of the Russian war of aggression and invasion against Ukraine, the regimes from Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua are, and must be, considered as unconditional allies of Russian crimes because, by supporting it and disguising it with nationalist narratives, they are only repeating the cover up of their own crimes against humanity that -along with State terrorism- they have been committing against their peoples for many years.

With their abstention (to condemn Russia-sic) at international organizations while they continue to gain benefits from democratic governments and international organizations, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua are backing and participating of Russia’s crimes

*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Translation from Spanish by Edgar L. Terrazas

Published in Spanish by Sunday March 6, 2022.

“The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author”.