Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Bolivia voted with Venezuela in trying to cancel the OAS meeting
Washington DC, Mar.29 (DP.net).─ Some Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) urged Venezuela's government and opposition to settle their differences through dialogue Tuesday, backing off from threats to suspend the country according to the Inter-American Democratic Charter and providing President Nicolas Maduro some short-term relief as he struggles to keep power over a nation polarized by a deep economic, social and political crisis.
Faced with Maduro's record of deepening authoritarianism, the countries of the Americas had voted 20 to 11 this Tuesday (Mar.28) to open a formal debate on whether Venezuela is democratic enough to remain a full member of the Inter-American System.
The special meeting called by S.G. Almagro at the OAS headquarters in Washington DC underscored the difficulty that regional governments, increasingly concerned about Venezuela's crisis, face as they try to force the unpopular Maduro to share some power with his opponents -counting with a large congressional majority- and restore badly damaged democratic norms. Hours earlier, back in Venezuela, the regime’s rubber-stamp Supreme Court was busy confirming its critics’ darkest warnings. In a staggeringly broad decision, the court effectively lifted parliamentary immunity from all opposition lawmakers and suggested they all be tried for high treason.
The outcome also showed the degree to which Venezuela –even crippled by triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages of basic goods– still can count on an alliance with several small Caribbean nations whose support was won through years of subsidized oil shipments. A two-thirds vote would be needed to suspend Venezuela from the OAS, out of a total of 35 member States. In addition to the Dominican Republic and Haiti backing Venezuela at least 10 other votes come from small Caribbean islands.
In an angry speech, Venezuelan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Moncada took aim at a coalition of OAS member states, accusing them of infringing on his nation's sovereignty.
Venezuela's representative said that by daring to question Bolivarian socialism, Mexico deserved the wall the Trump administration wants to build."Stick to the point," Mexican Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba told Moncada tersely in English.
"I came here to say what I need to say," Moncada said after being repeatedly scolded. "I don't care about their reaction." In addition, Maduro threatened during a public appearance in Caracas to quit the organization, saying it was time for a debate on whether Venezuela should remain a member given the OAS’s “aggression.”
The meeting was called to debate a 75-page report issued two weeks ago by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro. In it, he characterized Venezuela as a country where rule of law no longer exists.
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