Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro said Friday in the border city of Cucuta, Colombia that a "military intervention aimed at overthrowing the regime of Nicolas Maduro" should not be "excluded" as an option, in controversial remarks which have drawn reaction from across the region.
"With regards to a military intervention aimed at overthrowing the regime of Nicolas Maduro, I think we should not exclude any option," the head of the Washington-based OAS, who has been a staunch critic of Maduro, said less than a week after a New York Times report revealed United States officials had met with rogue Venezuelan army officers who were plotting to overthrow Maduro.
Bolivian President Evo Morales rapidly condemned Almagro's remarks via Twitter, arguing his call for a military intervention "confirms he stopped being secretary general of the OAS to become a civil agent of Trump's coup plots."
"Attacking Venezuela is attacking Latin America," Morales warned Saturday.
On the same day, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez also condemned Almagro statements and said the country's government would take them to the United Nations because they are "promoting a military intervention against our homeland and attacking peace in Latin America and the Caribbean."
Almagro's hostile comments were made during a visit with Colombian President Ivan Duque, who has expressed support for the Washington-based Inter-American system and recently withdrew Colombia from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
"The international community is responsible and cannot allow the existence of dictatorship in Venezuela, a dictatorship that affects the stability of the entire region," Almagro argued. However, most Latin American governments do not favor a military invasion or a war among neighbors.
U.S. diplomatic attacks against Venezuela include U.S. failed attempts to remove Venezuela from the OAS and open calls for a military overthrow by president Donald Trump. Last year, Venezuela formally started its withdrawal procedure from the OAS arguing it serves U.S. interests in the region and it will cease to be a member by 2019.
Almagro's comments were also condemned by OAS member Ecuador, and even the Lima Group, which brings together fourteen right-wing governments of the region.
Eleven of these governments expressed their "concern and rejection of any course of action or declaration which implies a military intervention in Venezuela" this Saturday. Colombia, Guyana, and Canada abstained from signing the declaration which undermined Almagro's remarks.
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - People's Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) also condemned Almagro. "These statements are clear evidence of Secretary-General Almagro’s continual destabilization and intervention against the democracy and sovereignty of progressive governments in the region," said the Executive Secretary of the ALBA-TCP in a statement released Saturday.
Likewise, the Communist Party of Uruguay, Almagro’s home country, said, "This is a new example of servility and irresponsibility of Almagro, long transformed into a pawn of Yankee imperialism, in the service of the worst things."
The party added, "(Almagro) acts as an operator for Trump, Pompeo …, and Colombia, which just entered NATO and his U.S. military bases in its territory. " TeleSUR Uruguay correspondent has reported that the country's Communist Party will ask for the expulsion of Almagro from his post.