Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Venezuela leaving the OAS to preserve its sovereignty

Published:Monday | June 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke
Opponents of President Nicolás Maduro gather to block a major highway in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 20. Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in what has been two months of near-daily street protests. The political unrest has left scores of people dead.

A Venezuelan government official says it's best for that country to sever ties with the Organization of American States (OAS) if they are to preserve the sovereignty of the Bolivarian Republic.

Delcy Rodriguez, the country's minister for foreign affairs, says Venezuela, as a free and sovereign nation, has the right not to remain in the OAS.

"Venezuela maintains its position of withdrawal from the Organization of American States and we will defend the country in making this known at the next summit to be held [from] June 19-21 in Mexico," Rodriguez said.

She noted that Venezuela will exercise its right not to return to the OAS, adding that the process of administrative detachment will last two years and that as long as the process continues, Venezuela will continue to defend itself.

"Venezuela will defend against the interference of a group of governments that promote the imperial intervention and the destruction of the Bolivarian homeland against the construction of a multicentric world," Rodriguez said.

 

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More than 60 people have been killed since the start of opposition protests that have rocked the South American nation.

The crisis has sparked worry among some in Jamaica's energy sector, who fear continued violence and uncertainty could derail the PetroCaribe agreement, even though it remains safe, according to a highly placed Venezuelan government official.

Jamaica's Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith had cautioned against the move while addressing the matter last Thursday at the 29th meeting of consultation of ministers of foreign affairs at the OAS in Washington, DC.

She said that Jamaica was concerned by the continued deterioration of the situation in Venezuela, evidenced by increased violence, loss of life, damage to infrastructure and severe economic hardships.

However, sister nation Trinidad and Tobago has gone a step further. Prime Minister Keith Rowley urged the OAS to remove Secretary General Luis Almagro over what he termed "Almagro's non-neutral position on Venezuela."

Almagro recently urged the OAS to suspend Venezuela unless a general election is held soon, but his action was seen as interventionist by the Nicolas Maduro-led administration in Venezuela.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com