Venezuela

OAS Call for Venezuelan Suspension Draws Mixed Reaction

FILE - Opposition supporters lie on the ground during a demonstration outside of the Organization of American States, OAS, office building, in Caracas, Venezuela, June 23, 2016.
FILE – Opposition supporters lie on the ground during a demonstration outside of the Organization of American States, OAS, office building, in Caracas, Venezuela, June 23, 2016.

CARACAS, VENEZUELA —

Critics of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro applauded the Organization of American States leader’s call to suspend Venezuela from the group unless the country holds “full general elections as soon as possible,” while the nation’s socialist government condemned the prospect of foreign intervention.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro on Tuesday released a 75-page report accusing Venezuela of violating the rights of its people, including by ignoring the results of 2015 legislative elections and by incarcerating political opponents. Such actions conflict with the standards of the Inter-American Democratic Charter that Venezuela has signed.

“Unfortunately, in Venezuela there is … need for the implementation of the Inter-American Charter,” said Carlos Berrisbetia, an opposition lawmaker in the National Assembly. “Why? Because human rights are not respected, the rights of Venezuelans are not respected, freedoms and the constitution have been violated.”

FILE - Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary-General Luis Almagro addresses the audience during an official visit to Honduras, in Tegucigalpa, Jan. 17, 2017.
FILE – Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary-General Luis Almagro addresses the audience during an official visit to Honduras, in Tegucigalpa, Jan. 17, 2017.

But Venezuela’s foreign minister, Delcy Rodriguez, scolded the OAS leader as a “sad evildoer.”

“Almagro, a known enemy of the people of Venezuela, has forged false assumptions against the republic with the sole objective of encouraging international intervention … heightening the economic war,” the AFP news agency reported her as saying.

Venezuela in ‘crisis’

In a letter accompanying the report to the OAS governing body, the Permanent Council, Almagro said his findings updated a report submitted last May. Since then, Venezuela has spiraled “further and further into its acute economic, social, political and humanitarian crisis,” he wrote in urging OAS intervention.

OAS could suspend Venezuela if at least 22 of the group’s 34 active member states agree. A vote has not been scheduled.

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