Organization of American States (OAS) secretary general Luis Almagro is on the back foot as he continues to face backlash after suggesting last week that the international community should not “discount” organizing a military intervention in Venezuela.

In a video posted on his Twitter account last night, a defiant Almagro provided context for his comments, which he made on Friday while Cucuta, Colombia, whose close proximity to Venezuela has turned it into ground zero for the ongoing migrant crisis.

Almagro begins the video by saying:

There is truly no reason why I should explain myself, and so therefore I will not.

In the rest of the seven-and-a-half minute video, Almagro describes in detail the humanitarian crisis that he witnessed in Cucuta last week, the cause of which he argues is “the dictatorship in Venezuela”.

Almagro continues by saying that anything short of clear and unequivocal denunciation of the crisis in Venezuela is tantamount to “criminal [action] of the worst moral category”,.

Turning specifically to his comments regarding military intervention, Almagro says:

I have said very clearly that we must always exhaust the path of diplomatic actions, and that all courses of action must be left available. No option should be discarded.

Almagro goes on to say that it would be “childish” for him to worry about people misinterpreting his comments on Friday as advocating military intervention in Venezuela, given his long-established track record as a diplomat and human rights defender.

After stresses that the focus of the international community should be to “stop the violence” perpetrated by the Maduro regime against the Venezuelan people, Almagro says:

Of course, our actions should ALWAYS [emphasis in video] be within the framework of the Inter-American System that was created for the protection of democracy and human rights, as well as within the confines of public international law.  It cannot be any other way.

In the second half of the video, Almagro takes aim at the Maduro regime’s continued unwillingness to recognize that it has caused a humanitarian crisis in the country. After applauding the help that the region’s countries have offered to Venezuela, Almagro says:

We have been rejected by a dictatorship that is so immoral that for the first time in our history, a country in our hemisphere faced with such a severe humanitarian crisis refuses the very help with which it can save its own people from suffering and death.

After relating a conversation he had with a Venezuelan doctor who explained to him that he felt responsible for the deaths of his patients because he believed that he had not done enough to speak out about the crisis in the country, Almagro says:

We, in the international community are more of an accomplice than one [doctor];  accomplices because of our inaction, because of our unwillingness to abandon the status quo and act outside of our comfort zone.

Almagro concludes the video by saying that it is “indefensible” for the international community to be frozen into inaction by its mantra: that it is concerned about the situation in Venezuela, and that it condemns the actions of the Maduro regime. Almagro says:

There is nothing easier than repeating ourselves, while we allow the suffering, the violence committed by the State, and the death in Venezuela, to continue.

The secretary general also warned that the international community has failed to act in instances of widespread human rights abuses, using the examples of the Khmer Rouge and the Rwanda genocide.

At the end of the video, Almagro offers the most concrete defense of his statements regarding military intervention by citing the responsibility to protect, a principle that was adopted by the United Nations in 2005. The principle establishes a theoretical principle for the international community to infringe on the sovereignty of a country in order to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleaning, and/or crimes against humanity.

Below, Almagro’s video:

Firefighters Accused of “Instigating Hatred” For Donkey Video

Two firefighters from Merida state have been formally charged with instigating hatred after sharing a two-minute video on social media in which they compared Maduro to a donkey.

The firefighters are named Carlos Varon and Ricardo Pietro. Both were ordered to remain in custody until their trial by a judge in Merida state today.

The Maduro regime has relied on the law to silence dissenters. In November of last year, it passed a law called the Ley Contra el Odio, por la Convivencia Pacifica y la Tolerancia [Law Against Hatred, and for Peaceful Coexistence and Tolerance], which critics denounced as increasing the regime’s power to imprison anyone who spoke–even jokingly–against it.

In Spanish, the word for donkey is “burro”. Because the word rhymes with Maduro–and because of Maduro’s disastrous rule as president–Venezuelans have taken to calling him “Maburro”.

Maduro Eats at Salt Bae’s Restaurant

Salt Bae–the nom de guerre of Turkish chef Nusret Gokce–served Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores in his restaurant today.

Salt Bae posted a thread on his Twitter account showing clips of Maduro’s visit. In the video below, Salt Bae cuts a piece of meat in his characteristic style for Maduro and Cilia:

In the video below, Maduro admires a t-shirt gift given to him by Salt Bae while smoking a cigar:

While Salt Bae has restaurants all over the world, the one that Maduro visited is in Turkey.

EDIT: Salt Bae deleted the five videos that he uploaded of Maduro’s visit to his Twitter just a few hours after putting them up. I downloaded the videos to the In Venezuela YouTube account, and you can see them below:

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

2 thoughts on “09.17.18: Comfort Zone

  1. Pingback: 09.18.18: The Right Place | In Venezuela

  2. Pingback: 09.20.18: Trinidad | In Venezuela

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