Venezuela leaving OAS

CARACAS – Venezuela’s government announced Wednesday it will go ahead with its threatened withdrawal from the Organization of American States, the regional body whose leader has been one of the fiercest critics of embattled socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The move came on the same day as fierce confrontations in the capital between security forces and anti-government protesters who staged yet another march amid political unrest that has been blamed for 29 deaths in recent weeks. Clashes were also reported in other Venezuelan cities.

A man carries a Venezuelan flag amid tear gas launched by security forces blocking opponents to President Nicolas Maduro from marching to the Ombudsman’s office in downtown Caracas, Venezuela.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez called for the OAS withdrawal after a brief but contentious meeting at the group’s Washington headquarters in which its permanent council voted in favor of holding a special session to evaluate Venezuela’s crisis, adding to mounting international pressure for Maduro to schedule delayed elections and free detained political activists.

Rodriguez said the OAS’s action was taken to “intervene and take custody of our country, something that fortunately will never happen.”

Tension between a block of OAS members that includes the United States and Venezuela has been steadily rising since Secretary General Luis Almagro issued a 75-page report in March accusing Maduro’s government of systematically violating human rights and standards of democracy enshrined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, to which Venezuela is a signatory. Almagro unsuccessfully urged OAS members to suspend Venezuela unless general elections were held soon.

Late Tuesday, Rodriguez had warned that Venezuela would quit the OAS if the body proceeded with scheduling a special session on the crisis here, calling it an infringement on Venezuela’s sovereignty. She said the pressure being brought by the US on some members like Haiti to punish Venezuela had been considerable.

Withdrawing from the OAS is a two-year process, but Rodriguez said Venezuela would immediately stop participating. Venezuela is estimated to owe the OAS about $10.5 million in unpaid annual dues. No country has ever withdrawn from the group since its founding in 1948.

Earlier in the day, thousands of protesters marched on Caracas’ main highway seeking to deliver a message to the national ombudsman, whose job is to stand up for citizens’ rights but who the opposition has tagged the “defender of the dictator.” They were met with plumes of tear gas that sent demonstrators running.

“The repression is very strong,” Luis Florido, an opposition lawmaker, said as clouds of the white gas swirled around him.

Opposition leaders said one protester, Juan Pablo Pernalete Llover, 20, died after being struck by a canister of tear gas. In all, 29 people have been killed, more than 400 injured and nearly 1,300 detained in the monthlong unrest roiling the nation.

Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets demanding Maduro hold elections and denouncing his government as being responsible for triple-digit inflation, food shortages and a rise crime. The protests have frequently ended in violent confrontations with security forces, which have used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds, and there also have been clashes with pro-government groups.

Opposition leaders have blamed armed pro-government militias known as “colectivos” for a number of the deaths, while government officials have accused the opposition of working with criminal gangs to foment unrest.

The swell of protests is the most violent in economically struggling Venezuela since two months of anti-government demonstrations in 2014 that resulted in dozens of deaths. Maduro has called for renewed dialogue, but opposition leaders have discarded that as an option after earlier talks collapsed in December.

Source: (AP)

One Response to Venezuela leaving OAS

  1. Wayne Cezair April 27, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    There have been so many negative reports about the situation in Venezuela, which many persons with an ear for the truth will recognize as a concerted effort by the US to foment violence in the country, using the surrogate opposition to do its dirty work and the western media to faithfully report it.
    Just as they have in the middle east, the US and it allies now have their sights on the huge oil reserves that lie in Venezuela’s waters, as well as other vital commodities, such as lithium that abounds in Bolivia. The US is just chomping at the bits to topple those two governments and put their puppets in place.
    A big part of the process is first getting people on the ground to protest, then to make the protests violent, then to send in the troops.
    It is all accomplished with propaganda and false news, alternative facts if you prefer, where the world is given the news from the front that they decide to publish. Of course the news outlets, even right next door as we are, simply publish what is fed to them without even wanting to hear the other side of the story.
    Maduro is being blamed for everything under the sun, especially the low price of oil on which their entire economy is dependant. Then when their Supreme Court took it upon themselves to seize the power of the National Assembly, well the entire world blamed Maduro, claiming he wanted to be a dictator. It matters not that Maduro himself ordered the Supreme Court to reverse its decision.
    On the other foot, US ally Recep Erdogan of Turkey, recently introduced laws that will grant him total power in the country to do anything he wishes, including making himself president for life if he wants and not a murmur of protest is heard from the west. In fact Erdogan has received the congratulations of President Trump, whom many think would like to do exactly the same.
    Not only did Erdogan force the legislation on the population by simply shutting all news outlets not under government control, but he has imprisoned most journalists and opposition members and jailed about 2000 citizens for allegedly planning a coup. His ‘referendum’ was won by the slimmest of margins, a huge deal in a country where those who oppose the government are likely to simply disappear.
    The goose apparently can do what the gander cannot even consider.
    Meanwhile the western news network continues to show what they want everyone to believe, aided by the pliable press even here in Trinidad and Tobago, that continues to re-post anything that the propagandists of the US government throw at them, without even a hint of wanting to find out the truth or at least the other side.
    The Express newspaper in Trinidad showed front page pictures of the so called ‘mother of all marches’ with anti-government protesters marching in Caracas, but they conveniently neglected to show any pictures of the pro-government supporters, who heavily outnumbered the anti-government hoodlums trying to overthrow an elected administration.
    The OAS is just another American institution (it’s right there in the name) wanting to get rid of Maduro and any other socialist government and it’s headed by one of Maduro’s nemeses, so it’s fitting that Venezuela simply leave the institution before more harm than good is done.

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