The Maduro regime reacted today to yesterday’s extraordinary meeting of the permanent council of the Organization of American States (OAS) by calling the meeting “a victory” for Venezuela since it did not result in any concrete action against the country. Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez said that she was satisfied with yesterday’s meeting because, according to her, it demonstrated that there is a willingness in the region to see a dialogue take place between the PSUV and the opposition.
Rodriguez also expressed her pleasure with the fact that Venezuela was not suspended from the OAS, which was one of the possibilities at the outset of yesterday’s meeting. The suspension would have come via Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, on account of the regime’s ongoing human rights abuses and its dismantling of democratic institutions and principles in the country.
Rodriguez’s comments come following a permanent council meeting yesterday at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. By the end of the meeting, the council had come to the agreement that the Maduro regime had to release all political prisoners in the country, restore the separation of powers and establish a clear and timely schedule for general elections.
In an attempt to downplay the importance of the meeting, Rodriguez said:
During the two sessions that have taken place [the one yesterday and one last May], the formal conclusion was “we’re making a note of the debate”. They’re not invoking the Democratic Charter, and they’re not activating the Democratic Charter. What they say in the hallways and in the media is different.
In a rare amicable tone, Rodriguez conceded that it is clear that many countries in the continent “have an honest preoccupation for out country”, but that other unnamed nations are only “masking” their intention to intervene in Venezuela.
Minister of Communication and Information Ernesto Villegas reacted to the meeting on an equally positive note by saying that Venezuela awoke this morning “victorious and sovereign”. Villegas said that the “imperialist’ plan called for intervention in Venezuela effective today, but that this plan was disrupted:
What awoke this morning was a digital Venezuela, a positive Venezuela, a sovereign Venezuela that makes itself known in the world with dignity. [Venezuela] showed at the OAS meeting yesterday that it is not necessary to have the powerful on your side, a majority of the powerful. It’s enough to be right and have enough dignity to defend [Venezuela], and that is why Venezuela awoke today victorious, sovereign, free and independent.
Saab: OAS Attacking Venezuelan Sovereignty
People’s Defender Tarek William Saab reacted to the OAS meeting by issuing a press release in which he criticized OAS secretary general Luis Almagro for having “interventionist” ambitions for Venezuela. Part of the release reads:
We reject the attack against our sovereignty that is coming from the Organization of American States, and we specially condemn the campaign being carried out by secretary general Luis Almagro, which hopes to put pressure [on Venezuela] and intervene in the internal affairs of our country and generate a crisis situation and even encourage a violent military intervention on our land.
Saab also argued that the OAS has a history of “interventions” conducted at the whim of the “North American power”, and qualified the OAS’ preoccupation with Venezuela as a “smear campaign” against the country.
MUD Calls TSJ Ruling “Unbelievable”
The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), the country’s official opposition bloc, called the Supreme Court decision that essentially stripped parliamentary immunity from National Assembly deputies “unbelievable”, and said that it severely weakened democracy in Venezuela.
Part of the MUD statement on the ruling reads:
This unbelievable sentence calls on the president to ignore diplomatic immunity [which is established] in Article 200 of the Constitution, the goal of which is to protect deputies from government attack (…) [The sentence] is a hard blow to democracy dealt by the Nicolas Maduro government and the institutions subordinate to it.
The decision from the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) declared that parliamentary immunity does not apply to current National Assembly deputies, since the Court considers that the legislature has been in contempt of a ruling issued last September. The ruling leaves legislators vulnerable to prosecution for any crime at any time.
NGO: Only Four out of 24 Parties Have Met CNE Goals
The Observatorio Electoral Venezolano [Venezuelan Electoral Watch] (OEV) announced today that only four political parties have managed to meet the onerous renewal requirements from the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), meaning that twenty parties are at risk of being officially eliminated. According to OEV, only Avanzada Progresista, Voluntad Popular, Primero Justicia and Accion Democratica have succeeded in meeting the renewal requirements, likely ensuring their continued existence.
Back in February, the CNE announced that it would require political parties in the country to collect signatures from supporters as part of a license-renewal process. Parties are given just two days – a Saturday and a Sunday – to collect signatures from 0.5% of registered voters in at least twelve states, a goal that has been universally decried as “impossible to complete” and designed only to eliminate political parties in the country.
OEV also lamented the fact that the CNE appears to be using the renewal process as an excuse to further delay regional elections that should have taken place last year but were postponed indefinitely. A statement from OEV partially reads:
The party validation process should not be used as en excuse to prolong the postponement of regional elections that, constitutionally, were scheduled to take place at the end of last year, and that threatens confer the same fate to local elections.
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