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The much-anticipated emergency meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) on the crisis in Venezuela has been finally announced. Secretary General Luis Almagro has officially called for the regional body to meet to discuss whether or not to temporarily suspend Venezuela from the OAS over the Maduro government’s continued human rights abuses.

The move entails invoking Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter against Venezuela, which reads:

Article 20: In the event of an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in a member state, any member state or the Secretary General may request the immediate convocation of the Permanent Council to undertake a collective assessment of the situation and to take such decisions as it deems appropriate. The Permanent Council, depending on the situation, may undertake the necessary diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, to foster the restoration of democracy.

If such diplomatic initiatives prove unsuccessful, or if the urgency of the situation so warrants, the Permanent Council shall immediately convene a special session of the General Assembly. The General Assembly will adopt the decisions it deems appropriate, including the undertaking of diplomatic initiatives, in accordance with the Charter of the Organization, international law, and the provisions of this Democratic Charter.

The necessary diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, to foster the restoration of democracy, will continue during the process.

Accompanying the request to debate suspending Venezuela from the OAS is a 132 page document outlining the Maduro administration’s abuses against human rights and law.

The report is available in Spanish here, with an English translation “available shortly” from the OAS.

Part of the document states:

The General Secretariat of the OAS considers that the institutional crisis in Venezuela demands immediate changes to the actions of the Executive (…) at the risk of falling in an immediate manner into illegitimacy.

(…)

The continuation of Constitutional violations, specially when it comes to the balance of powers, the functioning and integration of the judiciary, human rights violations, the recall referendum process and its [the Venezuelan government’s] lack of ability to respond to the serious humanitarian crisis that the country is living, which impacts the full enjoyment of the population’s social rights…

The only other time that the OAS has invoked the Democratic Charter against a government was on that of Honduras in 2009. For a member state of be suspended from the OAS, two thirds of its members must vote in favour of doing so.

Allup “Wouldn’t Think Twice” Of Resigning if Venezuelan Demanded

National Assembly president Henry Ramos Allup spoke late yesterday on the development from the OAS, Allup said:

The OAS cannot turn a blind eye to the situation that we are living, which – on top of a shortage of food and medicine – involves human rights violations.

Allup also stressed that it was important to let the process at the OAS unfold in its due course, saying that he would wait for Almagro to present the 132-page report on Venezuela “to see how everything develops”. He also pointed out that there is no true freedom of expression in Venezuela, that political dissenters are persecuted, and that the national government continues to deny much-needed assistance from international aid organizations.

Allup also said that if resolving the crisis in Venezuela hinged on him resigning his post as National Assembly president, he would not hesitate to do so:

If the solution to the Venezuelan crises necessitated my resignation as president of the NA, tell me where to sign. If I was asked [to resign], I’d be willing to do so.

Maduro: I’m a Target of the “World Oligarchy”

In his reaction to the news from the OAS yesterday, Maduro stuck to the line that the his government is the victim of an international campaign bent on destroying him personally.

Maduro said:

This is a brutal global campaign. We’d never seen a campaign against Venezuela like the one we’re seeing now, but this is also a campaign that we will defeat with the love of our people united.

NA: $60 Billion Stolen Through Currency Exchange Systems

The National Assembly’s Permanent Comptroller Commission has revealed that at least $60 billion have been stolen through the country’s currency exchange systems in its different iterations.

The body announced that there are currently 93 cases under investigation, many involving former and current high-ranking PSUV officials. Among the officials suspected of having stolen public funds through currency exchange systems are Jose David Cabello (Diosdado Cabello’s brother), Minister of Nutrition Carlos Osorio, and former Minister of the Economy Rodolfo Marco Torres.

Former head of PDVSA and current ambassador to the United Nations Rafael Ramirez is also among one of the “most accused”, along with Minister of Prisons Iris Varela.

Aside from the approximately $60 billion that were outright stolen from public coffers, the National Assembly has identified that $5 billion were embezzled, and that $4.2 billion were moved through money-laundering schemes. A further $7 billion disappeared into private hands through PDVSA, the state-owned oil company.


I am currently out of the province, so the daily updates are not as thorough as usual. I will be back tomorrow. I apologize.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com
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