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28 April, 2017

Venezuela formally begins process to exit 'interventionist' OAS

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said her country's decision was based on dignity and sovereignty

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez presented the official letter Thursday to start the process for the country to pull out of the Organization of American States, which she said was attempting to intervene and promote a coup in Venezuela.

"Today we formalize and present the letter to definitely pull out of this organization," said Rodriguez in a press conference from the Foreign Ministry's office in Caracas. "We will defend the self-determination of our people."

Rodriguez said the move was based on a question of dignity and that President Nicolas Maduro's decision, which was taken to defend Venezuela from arbitrary abuses and illegal actions carried out by the OAS against the country, had been both praised and respected.

"Today is a day of victory for Venezuela, we woke up today freer and more independent," the foreign minister continued.

Rodriguez criticized OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro, accusing him of responding to U.S. interests to destabilize Caracas, adding that the organization has a historical precedent of promoting interventions, coups and invasions in the region.

Almagro has repeatedly called for the Democratic Charter to be applied against Venezuela, which would have lead to its suspension from the organization.

"When I wake up in the morning, I am happy to say I do not have to call Washington to tell me what to do," she said, referring not only to Almagro, but also other foreign ministers in the region who supported him in promoting actions against Venezuela.

Rodriguez slammed the organization for its hypocrisy of constantly criticizing the political and economic crisis in Venezuela while turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in other countries.

Article 143 of the OAS Charter states that any member state can choose to leave the group by means of a written communication to the secretary-general and after two years from the date on which the general secretary receives the notification, the state shall be removed from the organization.

Venezuela's decision comes after the OAS's Permanent Council agreed Wednesday to convene a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela, with 19 votes in favor, 10 against, one abstention and one absence.

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, known by its Spanish acronym CELAC, will meet May 2 at Caracas' request to address "threats against the constitutional order in Venezuela, as well as the interventionist actions undermining its independence, sovereignty and its right to self-determination," said Rodriguez.

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