Venezuela’s OAS Ambassador Reacts to Secretary General’s Claims

In an interview on Monday, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza claimed the Venezuelan government was unwilling to dialogue with the opposition, provoking a vehement response from Roy Chaderton, the Caribbean nation’s OAS representative. 

By Zoe Dutka

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Roy Chaderton, Venezuelan Ambassador to the Organization of American States (Agencies)
Roy Chaderton, Venezuelan Ambassador to the Organization of American States (Agencies)
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Santa Elena, February 18th, 2015. (venezuelanalysis.com)- In an interview on Monday, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza claimed the Venezuelan government was unwilling to dialogue with the opposition, provoking a vehement response from Roy Chaderton, the Caribbean nation’s OAS representative. 

“The economic and social situation [in Venezuela] is very critical," Insulza is reported to have said by Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, in an interview published and quoted by German news agency DPA. 

According to the interview, during his time presiding over the Organization of American States, Insulza had hoped to “play a more important role” in improving Venezuela’s difficult circumstances, “but it has not been possible… [because] consensus among [OAS] members is required, but such consensus does not exist.”

Insulza will leave the post of Secretary General next march, upon which a new diplomat will be elected. 

Venezuelan ambassador Chaderton had a sharp criticism for the Secretary in an interview with TeleSUR on Monday.

"There is an onslaught from the media outlets under control of the imperial dictatorship (the US) intended to destabilize the [Venezuelan] government," Chaderton said, adding that Insulza "follows guidelines from the media dictatorship that prefabricates horrors about Venezuela."

Chaderton referred to the Chilean as an “ex-leftist” and accused him of belonging to “that minority segment of the Chilean old left who forgot their dead, tortured, persecuted and disappeared, and is now softened by the welcome at the neoliberal club.”

Among Monday’s comments, the OAS chief also accused both president Hugo Chavez and successor Nicolas Maduro of being unwilling to resolve conflict by dialoguing with the opposition.

During the violent anti-government protests that left at least 43 Venezuelans dead last year, president Maduro made repeated calls for dialogue, to little avail. At that time, many hardline opposition leaders publicized their preference for street action, and swore to reject the “peace talks” until a time when their demands were met. Among those demands was the release of those they consider “political prisoners," referring to the citizens who were arrested by authorities for inciting violent armed protest against the governnent. 

Insulza also recently met with Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, who orchestrated "The Exit" strategy that led to months of barricade or guarimba protest. Insulza later was reported to have said, "Probably the release of some political leaders who are detained will help pave the way for dialogue.” 

In response, Chaderton reminded the OAS chief that he is not “the boss of the Americas,” but merely “a bureaucrat at the highest level, who is not above the [OAS member] states.”

At 72, Chaderton is one of the most experienced members of the Venezuelan diplomatic corps, having served as foreign minister and ambassador to France and Mexico under Chavez.