Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan Leads U.S. Delegation to Ministerial-level Meeting of Rio Treaty

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan led the U.S. delegation to a ministerial-level meeting of the Rio Treaty on September 23 in New York, NY, convened by the state parties.  This meeting discussed regional next steps to address the worsening crisis in Venezuela; the previous time the OAS convened this meeting was to discuss collective action following the attacks of September 11, 2001.  The historic nature of this meeting highlights the depth of collective concern over the Venezuela crisis.

The Rio Treaty is known officially as the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR).  The U.S. delegation also included Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS Ambassador Carlos Trujillo, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Julie Chung, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Carrie Filipetti.


  • S. and Western Hemisphere regional security is reinforced by the OAS Charter, the Rio Treaty, and mutual security arrangements between countries.
  • The Rio Treaty is the framework for a collective regional response by state parties when a state party suffers from an armed attack or other situation that might endanger regional peace.
  • The Rio Treaty can provide a legal basis for state parties to take diplomatic, economic, or security measures.
  • This is the only regional, juridical instrument on hemispheric security that provides a mechanism for taking decisions that are binding upon Rio Treaty state parties.
  • State parties adopted the treaty in 1947 at the Third Meeting of Consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; it entered into force in 1948.
  • State parties have invoked the Rio Treaty 20 times since its inception.


Rio Treaty state parties participating in the meeting in New York passed a resolution by16 affirmative (Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, and Venezuela,),one opposed (Uruguay), and one abstaining (Trinidad and Tobago), which accomplishes the following:

  • Acknowledges the participation of the former Maduro regime in drug trafficking, money laundering, and illicit financing;
  • Emphasizes the corruption of the former Maduro regime and its record of grave human rights violations;
  • Creates a legal mechanism for countries to take legal actions against individuals and entities who are corrupt, have committed human rights violations, or certain illegal acts;
  • Underscores that the human rights abuses and violations, corruption, and criminal activities that led to the migratory and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela have had a negative impact on inter-American stability and security under Article 6 of the treaty;
  • Notes determinations in Articles 8 and 20 of the Rio Treaty;
  • Resolves to identify and designate persons who are serving or have served as senior Maduro officials and who participated in acts of corruption or serious human rights violations and uses all available measures under the law to prosecute, capture, extradite, and sanction those responsible;
  • Identifies and designates individuals and entities associated with the former Maduro regime, who are involved in illicit activities of money laundering, drug trafficking, and illicit financing linked to transnational organized crime networks and uses all available measures under the law to prosecute, capture, extradite, and sanction those responsible;
  • Creates an operational network of financial intelligence and public security authorities of the State Parties to the Rio Treaty to intensify legal, judicial, and police cooperation to investigate money laundering, drug trafficking, illicit financing, and transnational organized crime by individuals and entities linked to the former Maduro regime;
  • Forms commissions to discuss and coordinate efforts in support of the Venezuelan people within the framework of the Rio Treaty and evaluates recommendations on possible additional measures within the framework of Article 8 of the Treaty; and
  • Sets the date of the next ministerial-level meeting of the Rio Treaty within two months to discuss additional regional action.