OAS Secretary General Invokes Democratic Charter against Venezuela

The Secretary General has called an immediate gathering of the permanent council to assess Venezuela’s current “institutional crisis”.


Caracas, May 31, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Secretary General Luis Almargo officially invoked the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Democratic Charter against Venezuela on Tuesday, in a move that has been widely criticised by international solidarity organisations as an attempt to intervene in Venezuela and violate its national sovereignty. 

“The Secretary General considers that the institutional crisis in Venezuela demands immediate changes to the Executive power,” reported Almagro in his official statement. 

The OAS head justified his actions citing Article 20 of the organization’s charter, which authorizes any member state or the Secretary General to request an immediate meeting of the Permanent Council  “in the event of an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in a member state.”

The Permanent Council is tasked with undertaking “a collective assessment of the situation and to take such decisions as it deems appropriate.”

Almargo has called for a meeting of the Permanent Council to take place between June 10 and 20, 2016 to review Venezuela’s case. 

The OAS head alleges that Venezuela is currently experiencing such “alterations” due to the majority opposition National Assembly’s formal denouncements internationally of the Bolivarian government. Just this month, opposition AN lawmakers officially requested the suspension of Venezuela from the OAS before the regional body. 

Almargo asserts that his recent actions address what he considers to be the ongoing “violations of the constitution, especially in regards to checks and balances, the functioning and integration of the Judicial Branch, human rights violations, referendum procedures and the [government’s] lack of capacity to respond to the grave human rights crisis which affects people’s ability to enjoy their social rights.”

Pending the Permanent Council’s assessment, the regional bloc  “may undertake the necessary diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, to foster the restoration of democracy,” reads the OAS Democratic Charter.

The Secretary General’s latest actions opens the path toward the dissolution of Venezuela’s membership status within the OAS which after official discussions would require a two third majority vote. In 2009, the OAS voted in favor of Honduras’ suspension as a member state following the coup d’état against Manuel Zelaya.

Almargo’s actions come days after Venezuelan socialist lawmaker and former Vice-President Elias Jaua denounced the OAS General Secretary for playing an “irresponsible game” against Venezuela due to its continued attempts to intervene in South American country’s national affairs.

Jaua’s remarks refer to Almargo’s public support for Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes’ recent efforts to remove Venezuela from the trading bloc Mercosur.