OAS calls special meeting to discuss Venezuela’s political crisis

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OAS calls special meeting to discuss Venezuela's political crisis

In Washington, DC., a special meeting was held on the political crisis in Venezuela. Diplomats at the Organization of American States (OAS) gathered to debate the legitimacy of Juan Guaido’s declaration as interim president. Among his supporters is U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who said it was time for a change in Venezuela. CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports from the O.A.S headquarters.

At a tense meeting of the Organization of American States, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threw American support to Juan Guaido. The leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly declared himself the country’s interim president on Wednesday. Pompeo is calling on other O.A.S. members to follow the U.S. lead.

“The time for debate is done,” Pompeo told the group. “The regime of former President Nicolas Maduro is illegitimate. His regime is morally bankrupt. It’s economically incompetent and it is profoundly corrupt.”

At least a dozen other O.A.S. members are backing Guaido including Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. But there was stern opposition from countries such as Mexico, who accuse the O.A.S. of interfering in the internal affairs of a member state. And El Salvador, Bolivia and Nicaragua expressed their support for the Maduro government.

“The government of the Republic of Nicaragua expresses its solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, presided over by its legitimate President Nicolas Maduro,” said Nicaraguan representative Luis Exequiel Alvarado Ramirez.

In 2017, Venezuela announced plans to withdraw from the O.A.S., accusing the organization of meddling in its internal affairs. The withdrawal process takes two years, so Venezuela remains a member of the O.A.S, at least until April. A representative from the Maduro government gave a passionate speech in its defense, and called the U.S. a”Mafia Government” that was trying to orchestrate a coup d’etat.

“The U.S. are the most dangerous threat to the peace in the region,” said Venezuelan representative Asbina Ixchel Marin Sevilla. “Its actions, threats and language become all in one gigantic criminal operation. The foreign military intervention is unfolding; clandestine operations are active.”

Many of the countries at this meeting are calling for more dialogue, in hopes for finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Venezuela.

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