Various Latin American countries have rallied behind Venezuela to condemn new U.S. sanctions against the South American nation.
The Cuban government has slammed the U.S. sanctions as “arbitrary and aggressive.”
“How is Venezuela a threat to the United States? Thousands of kilometers away, without strategic weapons and without the resources … to conspire against the U.S. constitutional order; the (White House) declaration has little credibility,” read a statement published in newspaper Granma on Tuesday.
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has also praised Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's “brilliant and valiant” response to what he described as “brutal” U.S. plans against Venezuela. The comments were made in a short letter to Maduro on Monday night.
Earlier in the day, Bolivia's President Evo Morales said the regional blocs CELAC and UNASUR should immediately hold an “emergency meeting,” arguing the U.S. sanctions pose a threat to “all of Latin America and the Caribbean.”
"We condemn, we repudiate, in the 21st Century we won’t accept this kind of intervention by the United States,” Morales said. “All of our solidarity and our support goes to President Maduro, and the revolutionary Bolivarian government and people of Venezuela."
“An executive order by Obama declaring Venezuela a national security threat and declaring a national emergency to face this threat... It must be a bad joke, which reminds us of the darkest hours of our America, when we received invasions and dictatorships imposed by imperialism... Will they understand that Latin America has changed?” said the Ecuadorean leader Tuesday through his Facebook account.
On Monday, President Barack Obama declared Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States.
Obama also issued sanctions on several high ranking Venezuelan government officials. The measures were issued under an executive order. In the past, the Obama administration has condemned Maduro for using executive orders to pass legislation.
“We believe the separation of powers and the presence of independent branches of government are essential elements of democracy," a White House spokesperson said in 2013, after Maduro used an executive order to pass legislation aimed at stabilizing consumer prices. In response to Obama's announcements, Maduro yesterday requested the use of the Enabling Act to pass by executive order "a special law to preserve peace in the country" in the face of US threats.
If the powers are granted by the National Assembly, Maduro plans to draft an "anti-imperialist law to prepare us for all scenarios and to win," he said.
In unison with Latin American leaders’ comments, social media users have coined the hashtag #ObamaYankeeGoHome, posting over 80,000 tweets with the tag within the first 24 hours following Obama’s announcements.
The phrase “Yankee go home” has been used in Latin American pop culture and leftist circles since the 1950s, long after the United States established a firm imperialist attitude toward independent-minded governments South of its borders.
In 1973, renowned Venezuelan folk singer Ali Primera wrote a song called Working-Class Latin America, in which the expression is sung in refrain.