Mérida, June 9th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – During the 40th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday, Venezuela reaffirmed its opposition to the re-entry of Honduras to the OAS as long as the regime led by Porfirio Lobo, which came to power through a military coup d’état last year, remains in power.
“Until firm steps are taken for the re-establishment of democracy in Honduras, for the re-establishment of the guarantee of the political return of [President] Manuel Zelaya, until the crimes of the dictatorship are investigated and people are held responsible, there are no conditions for the recognition of Honduras in the inter-American community,” Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Nicolas Maduro declared on Tuesday.
Venezuela’s position stood in opposition to that of the United States. Referring to the coup, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “these interruptions of democracy should be completely relegated to the past.” Honduras’s “free and fair elections” last year should qualify the country for re-admission, Clinton said.
Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, and Nicaragua joined Venezuela in opposing Honduras’s readmission.
Brazilian Deputy Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota commented, “Honduras’s return to the OAS must be linked to specific means for ensuring re-democratization... It is essential to create conditions for former president Zelaya to fully participate in the political life of Honduras.”
The OAS countries did not reach an agreement on whether to re-admit Honduras, but they did agree to send an international commission to investigate the political and human rights situation in the Central American country before the end of July.
On June 28th, 2009, Honduran military personnel raided President Manuel Zelaya’s home and deported him from the country. He was replaced by a regime led by Congressman Roberto Michelleti and other right-wing leaders who opposed Zelaya’s minimum wage increase and initiative to elect a popular assembly to re-write the nation’s constitution. Five months later, the regime oversaw elections in which Mr. Lobo was voted into power amidst rampant human rights violations including the murder of political opponents of the coup.
Venezuela Highlights Advances in Social Justice
Also during the three-day OAS assembly, which took place in Lima, Peru, Venezuelan Ambassador to the OAS Roy Chaderton highlighted Venezuela’s reduction of poverty by more than half and its advancements toward the United Nations Millennium Development goals in education, health care, and nutrition.
Chaderton also said the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHRC) is “corrupt,” and he accused the institution of politicizing its evaluations of human rights in the region.
Chaderton’s remarks came in response to the IAHRC’s inclusion of Venezuela on a list of countries where human rights are in danger. Earlier this year, the IAHRC issued a report denouncing the Venezuelan government for arresting prominent opposition leaders for disseminating false information and inciting the violent overthrow of the government.
“They do not pay attention to the violations of human rights committed by the private media, which go from terrorism to incitement of panic,” said Chaderton.
Despite its clashes with the OAS, Venezuela is a strong proponent of regional integration, having played a lead role in the formation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), a regional fair trade bloc.