Puebla, Mexico, October 6, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela has accused the head of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro of discussing new sanctions on Caracas with a top US military official.
On Monday, Almagro met with US Southern Command head Kurt Tidd. The meeting took place on the sidelines of a summit on Latin America organised by Florida Goveror Rick Scott.
The meeting was condemned by Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab, who accused Almagro of discussing the possibility of further US sanctions with Tidd. The Trump administration imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela in August, and has hinted that more could be in the works.
“The secretary general of the Organisation of American States should be a symbol of regional peace, regional diplomacy and regional peace,” Saab said, accusing Almagro of pursuing a political campaign against Venezuela’s government.
“More sanctions on Venezuela, not only of an economic nature, are presumably militaristic, warlike, [and] aggressive to our territory,” he said.
— Luis Almagro (@Almagro_OEA2015) October 2, 2017
Neither Tidd or Almagro have confirmed whether they specifically discussed sanctions.
Almagro has, however, confirmed he did have a conversation with Tidd.
“Today at #LatinAmericanSummit I had an opportunity to talk to @ADMKurtWTidd about regional issues, especially the situation in Venezuela,” he tweeted on Monday.
On the same day, Almagro publicly called for tougher sanctions on Venezuela. Responding to a question from an audience member at the Latin American Summit, Almagro said Venezuela has "completely abandoned the rule of law," according to EFE.
He also met with House Democrat Joe Kennedy II at the same summit. According to Almagro, they discussed the need to “re-democratise Venezuela”.
— Luis Almagro (@Almagro_OEA2015) October 3, 2017
Tweet reads: Meeting w/ Joe Kennedy II. We share a vision on the necessity and path towards the urgent re-democratisation of #Venezuela #OASWithVenezuela
Almagro has long been a fierce critic of the Maduro administration, and has endorsed unilateral US sanctions on Caracas in the past. Over the past year he spearheaded a campaign to have Venezuela suspended from the OAS, and in a recent report he argued for more economic pressure on the country.
“We reiterate the request we made in the past so that the international community will continue to apply increasingly hard sanctions against the [Venezuelan] regime,” he stated.
Venezuela is currently struggling with its worst economic downturn in decades, and the government warns more sanctions will hurt ordinary Venezuelans.