Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez spoke before the permanent council of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C. today on the eve of a meeting that could see Venezuela suspended from the organization. Rodriguez’s comments before the council were charged, as Rodriguez accused the OAS of conducting “serious interventionist actions” against Venezuela and of acting “aggressively” towards the Maduro regime.

Rodriguez also warned the council that unless the OAS halted its aggression, Venezuela would take “severe and definitive action” against the organization.

Secretary General Luis Almagro drew the brunt of Rodriguez’s ire. As in previous occassions, Rodriguez did not attempt to address the criticisms leveled against the Maduro regime substantively: instead, she resorted to personally insulting Almagro. Speaking on the secretary general, Rodriguez said:

[He is] a liar, dishonest, evil: a mercenary and a traitor (…) Almagro has become a militant against dialogue in Venezuela.

Accusing Almagro is holding an “obsessively extremist” position on Venezuela, Rodriguez said that the OAS has “a vulgar history of interventions” in the region and that the organization has prepared “infamous” reports on Venezuela as part of a campaign to undermine the Maduro government.

Rodriguez also attempted to exalt the Maduro regime by saying that 82% of Venezuelans have access to medical services.

In the event that Venezuela’s wishes are not heeded, Rodriguez had the following warning for the OAS:

If these illegal, unilateral, and partisan acts on behalf of violent extremists in Venezuela does not stop, we will move ahead with severity and steadfastness through diplomatic channels [and] international human rights mechanisms in accordance with the Venezuelan constitutional order.

The OAS did not grant Rodriguez’s request to cancel tomorrow’s council meeting on the ongoing Venezuela crisis. The meeting could potentially result in Venezuela’s suspension from the OAS, although the measure does not enjoy widespread support from member states.

TSJ Calls on Maduro to Push for Almagro’s Removal

The Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) issued a statement today in which it called on Maduro to formally push to have Secretary General Luis Almagro removed from his position as the head of the OAS over his continued efforts to take concrete action against the Maduro regime.

The top court’s chief magistrate, Maikel Moreno, called Almagro’s work as the head of the OAS “interventionist, infamous and hurtful”, and continued:

We call on the national executive to request the removal of the current secretary general of the American States [sic], Mr. Luis Almagro, as established in Article 116 of the OAS Charter, given his aggression against Venezuelan institutions.

Moreno called Almagro’s stance towards the Maduro regime “unacceptable”, and that that he is responsible for “launching an offensive attack against state institutions”.

Cabello: OAS Would “Do Venezuela a Favour” With Suspension

PSUV vice president and National Assembly deputy Diosdado Cabello said today that the OAS would “do Venezuela a favour” if it voted to suspend the country from the OAS during its permanent council meeting tomorrow. The suspension is unlikely because some of the OAS’ most powerful members – including Mexico and the United States – have come out in opposition of the measure.

Cabello said:

I think that [Venezuela will be suspended]. Let them get the 24 votes that they need so they can say “Venezuela is suspended”. I think that they’d even be doing us a favour. The OAS is something that really should have disappeared many years ago.

Cabello said that instead of the OAS, the region should have diplomatic bodies that truly belong “to the people”.

On the OAS’ current priorities, Cabello said:

They’re really fighting to start a war, a military intervention in Venezuela. I think that this demand a kind of national unity. This conspiracy is trying to turn the OAS into a new tool of aggression to launch coups (…) they want to launch a coup here.

Maduro Heralds “New Economic Era”, Announces Changes to Currency Exchange System

Maduro gave a speech late this evening in which he said that country’s days of depending on oil sales for income were over, and that 2017 would signal the beginning of “a real economy”. Maduro said:

We’re coming out of the last year with the oil sales model (…) A new economic era has begun.

Without providing any concrete details, Maduro said that the new Venezuelan economy would allow the country to become an economic “power”.

During the same speech, Maduro announced changes to the DICOM currency exchange system. The DICOM system is one of two official currency exchange rates in the country, and is reserved for ordinary citizens who want to exchange their bolivares for U.S. dollars. The DICOM exchange rate is “fed” by U.S. dollars that the government places in the exchange market, where individuals can buy them based on a fluctuating rate.

Maduro said that starting next week, the government would inject dollars into DICOM twice a week, a move that has the potential to result in a steadier supply of U.S. dollars for Venezuelans. Currently, U.S. dollars go on sale through DICOM once a week.

Maduro also called on private industry and foreign investors to use the exchange system, and said that he was working on a set of undisclosed economic policies to bring more foreign investment into the country.

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

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