I will not have reliable internet access until June 25. As a result, the daily updates will not be as thorough as usual. I apologize.
The Organization of American States (OAS) held an extraordinary session today in Washington, D.C. to discuss the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
The morning began with the Venezuelan delegation – headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodriguez – called a vote on suspending the session.
Rodriguez’s plea before the OAS included virtually all of the Venezuelan government’s lines on the crisis in the country, including the idea that it’s being orchestrated by the country’s enemies and that it’s not as severe as the media would have the world believe.
Rodriguez said that the OAS secretary general, Luis Almagro, was “ignoring the will of the Venezuelan people” by pushing for the regional body to take a hard stance against the systemic human rights violations taking place in Venezuela today, and that he was orchestrating a “coup” against the Maduro government.
Calling Almagro’s stance on Venezuela “truly incredible”, Rodriguez said that his comments on Venezuela seek to “sell a false reality to disparage the image of the country”.
On the crisis in the country, Rodriguez was blunt:
There isn’t one. I tell you this with absolute certainty.
Venezuela’s bid to put today’s discussion to rest was backed by Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and many Caribbean islands. The notion ultimately failed when 20 of the OAS’ 31 member states voted in favour of discussing the crisis in Venezuela.
The voting broke down in the following manner:
Opposed to holding today’s session to discuss the crisis in Venezuela: Venezuela, Antigua y Barbuda, San Vicente y las Granadinas, República Dominicana, Nicaragua, Haití, Granada, El Salvador, Ecuador, Dominica, Bolivia.
In favour of holding today’s session to discuss the crisis in Venezuela: Uruguay, Trinidad y Tobago, Surinam, San Lucia, Perú, Paraguay, Panamá, México, Jamaica, Honduras, Guatemala, Estados Unidos, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, Canadá, Brasil, Belice, Barbados, Bahamas, Argentina.
Almagro: Situation in Venezuela “Beyond Desperate”
Almagro spoke at length at today’s meeting on the situation in the country, saying:
Patients who require [medical] treatment must bear through a lot. In January 2016, the pharmaceutical sector had a debt of $6 billion. On January 17, the National Assembly declared a national [health] emergency and passed a law to see to the health crisis. On June 9, the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) struck it down as unconstitutional.
Almagro also told the OAS delegates that one quarter of the Venezuelan population eats two times or less a day, and that Venezuela is now one of the poorest countries in the region, with an inflation rate of 720% and the 9th highest unemployment rate in the world.
He also said:
The situation is now beyond desperate. There have been more than 250 reported looting [events].
The overarching narrative of Almagro’s speech was that there has been a break in the constitutional order of the country, and that there must be a “peaceful solution” to the crisis in the country. Almagro said:
The goal today is not to punish nor sanction Venezuela. We are here to support a member state and help it return to the democratic path. In this way, I support the idea that the OAS’ [should find consensus] before a government that seeks to hide the truth and waste time.
The session ended without any action taken against Venezuela.
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