The Organization of American States’ (OAS) Permanent Council met today for the first time to discuss issuing a formal statement on the situation in Venezuela in response to a report released by the organization yesterday outlining the Maduro governments’ continued abuses against human rights and Venezuelan law.
Along with releasing the report yesterday, OAS secretary general Luis Almagro initiated a process that might result in Venezuela’s suspension from the OAS by invoking Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter against Venezuela.
Early on during the extra-ordinary session of the Permanent Council, the Venezuela representative before the body – Bernardo Alvarez – argued that the session should be suspended, since Venezuela did not attend the meeting that called for today’s session.
The Permanent Council then debated Venezuela’s motion, which stood in contrast to that put forward by Mexico, which called for the Council to discuss the crisis in Venezuela during today’s session.
In all, approximately 21 nations stand in favour of moving to discuss the situation in Venezuela as per Mexico’s proposal.
As of the writing of this update (7:45 PM EST), it does not appear that the Council has reached an agreement on today’s order of business. EDIT: At the end of today’s marathon session, the OAS agreed on a motion that calls for open dialogue between the PSUV and the opposition, and UNASUR support of that process. Venezuelan ambassador Bernardo Alvarez said that he believes the motion is a sign of the OAS’ “good intentions”.
Maduro to Almagro: “Shove The Charter Up Wherever It Fits”
Last night, Maduro reacted to the news that the OAS would hold a meeting today to discuss the crisis in Venezuela. Speaking on live television, Maduro lashed out at OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro over his efforts to invoke the Inter-American Charter on Human Rights against Venezuela, saying that history would “judge [him] harshly”.
Maduro took a crass turn by suggesting that Almagro “shove” the Inter-American Charter of Human Rights “wherever it fits”, an expression that means, “shove it up your ass”.
Below, a video of Maduro’s comments along with my translation:
Maduro: I’m going to respond to the canalla internacional [literally, “rotten international”; I think he means something like, “that rotten foreigner”, meaning Almagro], who thinks that Bolivar’s homeland will be intimidated by his threats. This is what they can do with the Democratic Charter: [rolling up a piece of paper] roll it up into a really tin tube, and put it to better use. Mr. Almagro, shove the Democratic Charter wherever it fits! Venezuela must be respected! No one will apply any Charter to Venezuela, whatever they want to call it! I call for national rebellion against international threats!
Foreign Minister: Armed Intervention is Coming
Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said today that the OAS alongside the United States were planning a military intervention against Venezuela, and that the invoking the Democratic Charter against the country was the first step in that process.
Rodriguez said that there has been to break from constitutional order in Venezuela, and that any suggestion otherwise is part of a campaign by “the empire that has created artificial situations”.
Speaking directly on Secretary General Luis Almagro and the OAS’ report on human rights and other violations in Venezuela, Rodriguez said:
Almagro doesn’t give orders in Venezuela. So, you know what President Nicolas Maduro recommended that you [Almagro] do with that two-bit report that you wrote.
Maduro: “Time To Defend The Truth”
Speaking from the Miraflores Palace in Caracas today to the county’s youth, Maduro called on his supporters to do their part in his struggle against the OAS, saying:
It’s time for you to go out and defend the truth about Venezuela, and the right which the youth have to have Venezuela be respected (…) the homeland cannot be sold out; it must be defended.
Maduro also told the country’s young people why he is working to defend Venezuela, and reminded them that the role of defending the country may fall upon them some day:
We are defending the freedom of a country. We defend it so that it will continue to be free, sovereign, and democratic (…) if we must pick up a rifle one day, we will. Study, work, and rifle.
Maduro then took the time to enjoy a musical break with some youth:
Maduro to Sue NA Leadership for Treason
During the same speech yesterday, Maduro said that he was going to sue the executive leadership of the National Assembly for “usurping functions” and treason. Maduro said that the lawsuit would seek to incapacitate the National Assembly in order to save Venezuela from foreign intervention:
[This is] a lawsuit that includes a writ of unconstitutionality [essentially an order to stop doing something] because they’re trying to ask for intervention in Venezuela from international organizations, betraying the homeland without having the constitutional power to represent the Republic.
Maduro’s rant took an even more bizarre turn when he said that the trial of the National Assembly’s leadership would be “historic”, and that it would be “transmitted to the entire country”, presumably through television.
NA: Lawsuit Threat “Delicate” Matter
National Assembly vice-president Enrique Marquez reacted to Maduro’s threat to sue the legislature’s leadership as a “delicate” matter, and said that Maduro is obviously trying to turn up the pressure on the opposition-controlled legislative body.
Marquez gave his opinion on the true reason for Maduro’s threat, saying:
When a president or a government cannot provide food, medicine, electricity, drinking water and [provide] security (…) that government has failed, and that’s the Maduro’s status at the moment in Venezuela.
Student Unions Declare Permanent Strike
Hasler Iglesias, the president of the Federacion de Centros Universitarios at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, announced today that the country’s university students union are now in a state of permanent strike in the face of what they perceive to be the national government’s continued ignoring of their demands to improve financial assistance to students and provide infrastructure repairs to university campuses around the country.
Iglesias said that university students around the country would take to the streets in peaceful protest on June 9, and that:
The students’ patience has run out. We will mobilize permanently each week to demand answers.
Iglesias also said that the plight of the Venezuelan student “reflects the crisis” through which Venezuela currently suffers.
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