Mérida, July 15, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Secretary General of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza, confirmed on Thursday that an OAS delegation will not visit Venezuela to investigate the case of private television channel RCTV. The United States had asked the organization to send a delegation to Venezuela during the meeting of the OAS General Assembly last month, but Venezuela’s ambassador to the OAS called the request an "intervention" in the internal affairs of Venezuela and considered it "totally unacceptable."
The Secretary General of the OAS made the announcement on Thursday during a visit to Brazil. According to Insulza, the U.S. request that a delegation be sent to Venezuela doesn’t meet the guidelines of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
"As a political route, it has to have the consent of both countries," explained Insulza. "In other words, in order to take action through the Democratic Charter, you have to have the will of the countries."
During the 37th session of the OAS General Assembly in June, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requested that the Secretary General send a commission to Venezuela in order to investigate the case of the private TV channel RCTV and the situation of freedom of expression in the country. Her request came after RCTV went off the national airwaves in Venezuela on May 27th when the Chavez government declined to renew its broadcast license.
Rice’s request was met with immediate rejection from Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro who suggested that a delegation go to the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Cuba to investigate the accusations of human rights abuses by U.S. officials there.
The United States’ request was based on articles 4 and 18 of the OAS Charter, the first of which refers to freedom of expression. Article 18, however, requires "the previous consent of the affected government," and, for this reason, the request was denied. Insulza explained that the nation that is to be the object of this type of OAS delegation must give their acceptance, and, in this case, the Venezuelan government refused the delegation. Insulza assured that this decision is "perfectly legal" according to the OAS Charter.
Insulza also stated that just as many countries in the region had denied comment regarding the case of RCTV, considering it an internal affair to Venezuela, in similar fashion the government of Venezuela has denied the OAS the right to intervene in its affairs.
Emphasizing the political consequences of the decision of the Chavez government to not renew the RCTV broadcast license, Insulza also recognized the "right of governments to grant or withdraw a broadcast license."
For Venezuela’s ambassador to the OAS, Jorge Valero, the action was a failed attempt by Washington to use the OAS against Venezuela, and the OAS decision to deny the request, according to Valero, demonstrates the sovereignty of the OAS.
"The government of the United States is carrying out an interventionist policy and has attempted to use the OAS for its purposes," stated the ambassador. Valero went on to accuse the U.S. of trying to interfere with "the democratic process that is being carried out in Venezuela, with total respect for human rights and the state of law and justice."
Valero explained that the "decision to not renew a broadcast license is an absolutely sovereign, legitimate decision with respect to the democratic state and the laws of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela." He also assured that there is complete freedom of expression in Venezuela.
Regarding the OAS decision, the ambassador stressed that it was "a new demonstration that the North American government does not have the backing of the OAS and will not be able to use it for its purposes of intervention."
"We don’t accept the intervention of any international organization with regard to sovereign decisions and in this case the Secretary General and the OAS have acted in conformity with that and have discredited the interventionist plan of the United States government," concluded Valero.