Venezuela opposes OAS Secretary General ultimatum

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro.
Monday, March 20, 2017

Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Relations Delcy Rodriguez issued an official statement on March 14 rejecting Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro’s latest report calling for the suspension of the South American nation if general elections are not held “as quickly as possible”.

"Almagro heads the hemisphere's fascist right-wing group that harasses, assaults and viciously attacks Venezuela, without any scruples or ethics," read the statement released on Rodriguez’s official social media page @DrodriguezVen.

Almagro insisted that Venezuela hold general elections within 30 days and “retake an institutional route” or face suspension from the regional bloc, despite the fact that general elections are not due in Venezuela until 2018.

“We cannot allow the premise of dialogue to continue to be used as a smokescreen to perpetuate and legitimise the authoritarian power of what has become a regime in Venezuela,” he stated in the updated report.

Last May, Almagro presented a similar report and invoked Article 20 of the OAS Democratic Charter. He threatened the South American nation with intervention, citing “an alteration of the constitutional order that seriously affects its democratic order.”

The move was rejected by the majority of member-states, who voted to back dialogue in Venezuela to resolve differences between the national government and political opposition.

Since May, the Bolivarian government has attempted to reconcile tensions with sectors of the opposition, whose efforts to realise a recall referendum to revoke the president last year were quashed. The National Electoral Council suspended the process after thousands of fraudulent signatures were registered in support of the recall.

Subsequently, the Bolivarian government extended an invitation to dialogue with sectors of the opposition, with the Union of South American Nations and the Vatican as international facilitators. However, the opposition has yet to resume the dialogue since late last year, calling for the release of “political prisoners” and making other demands before committing to next steps.

Almagro’s report comes after he stated in February that the OAS would not apply the Democratic Charter in Venezuela’s case until the Bolivarian government, opposition and Vatican officially confirmed that dialogue efforts had ceased.

A joint official statement between the two parties and the religious body has not been released.

[Abridged from Venezuela Analysis.]