OAS Secretary General Targets Venezuela (Again) Ahead of Opposition Demos

Secretary General Luis Almagro released another statement accusing the Venezuelan government of criminalizing the opposition march set for September 1st.

By Jeanette Charles
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OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro (Reuters).
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro (Reuters).

Los Angeles, California August 30th 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro released another statement Tuesday accusing the Venezuelan government of seeking to contain and attack the opposition’s mobilizations slated for September 1st.

In recent months, the OAS has played a contentious role regarding Venezuela's political and economic situation.

In May, Almagro released a 300-page document in an attempt to justify OAS intervention into Venezuela for allegedly violating its constitution due to institutional requirements and timelines for the recall referendum.

However, Almagro’s most recent statement attests that President Nicolás Maduro looks to “criminalize protest and national assembly members’ behavior and disqualify political parties.” Opposition assembly member and sitting President of the National Assembly’s Foreign Relations Commission, Luis Florido, requested on August 12 that Almagro oversee the September 1st demonstrations. Almagro was also approached by Carlos Vecchio, political leader of the opposition party Popular Will (VP).  One of the products of their invitations was Almagro's declaration. 

Almagro has denounced a variety of precautionary measures that the Maduro administration has taken over the last several days to prevent violence on Thursday September 1st, including but not limited to:  the recent relocation of former San Cristóbal Mayor Daniel Ceballos from house arrest to prison and the arrest of opposition spokesperson Yon Goioechea. Venezuelan authorities cited that both were found with incriminating evidence that suggested they were planning to participate in violent actions at tomorrow's demonstrations. 

Almagro also cited that the headquarters of Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, notorious for its conservative coverage, was purportedly attacked by “violent groups identified with the Venezuelan government”.

Finalizing his laundry list of the Venezuelan government’s alleged human rights violations, Almagro suggested that the Bolivarian process’ active defense measures meant to avoid bloodshed and conflict on September 1st may actually “contribute to a confrontational and tense climate”.  

Almagro has consistently attacked the Venezuelan government in his one year tenure as OAS Secretary General despite forceful regional push-back by Venezuela and allies throughout the region.

Upon close revision, one may validly interpret the OAS Secretary General's latest statement as a list of grievances associated with the VP party and it’s political alliances rather than an official document conveying honest concerns over Venezuela and its people.

Additionally, Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodríguez has strongly condemned Almagro in recent months for his unfounded attacks against her country. Emblematically, the OAS reached an  “historic decision” in early June to review Almagro’s illegitimate invoking of the Democratic Charter against Venezuela. 

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