Venezuela’s political crisis takes center stage at OAS assembly

Latin America

The political crisis in Venezuela is the hot topic among diplomats attending the General Assembly of the Organization of American States in Mexico. Intense debates over how to handle the crisis dominated discussions.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports from Cancun.

The Organization of American States marked two historic events during the first official day of the General Assembly at a Caribbean tourist resort.

It’s the first time Mexico has hosted the meeting, and never before in the 69-year history of the OAS has a member nation, in this case Venezuela, decided to leave the pro-democracy organization.

During an intense day of negotiations, the U.S. representative to the OAS worked to convince all OAS member nations to adopt a resolution demanding, among other things, that the Venezuelan government hold free elections.

“This is not an intervention of the U.S. or the OAS. It’s merely an offer by countries in the region, a responsible organization – the OAS – promoting the human individuals rights, putting together a balanced group of countries to help facilitate a resolution what is a serious problem in our neighbor country, and I think it s the minimum that the OAS can do to address this situation,” John Sullivan, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State said.

As the day dragged on, government representatives from across the Americas seemed no closer to achieving a consensus on a resolution aimed at helping to bring peace to the South American nation.

On the opening day of the 47th General Assembly of the OAS, the hemisphere’s top diplomats debated whether their efforts to guide Venezuela through its political crisis could been seen as a violation of one of the founding principles of this organization: non-intervention.

Following a dramatic move on Monday by Venezuela’s foreign minister to walk out of an OAS meeting and her announcement to withdraw Venezuela from the organization, Delcy Rodriguez returned to the summit and called the U.S.-led effort a clear act of interventionism.

“For that reason, I denounce efforts by the United States to promote and intervene in Venezuelan affairs. It is using its resources to revert our successful models that have reduced poverty and inequality in my country,” Rodriguez aid.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister called Peru and other South American nations that support a critical resolution on Venezuela’s crisis “lap dogs of U.S. imperialism.”

Venezuela has also decided not to recognize any OAS resolutions. By taking that step, political analysts say the government of Presdient Nicolas Maduro will become more isolated than ever.

Nevertheless, the OAS continues working toward a unified message on what to do about the crisis, with or without Venezuela.