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WASHINGTON D.C. — Socialist Latin American nations and small Caribbean island states that benefit from Venezuela’s oil supply have expressed disdain towards U.S.-backed efforts by the Organization of American States (OAS) to find a solution to Venezuela’s political and humanitarian crisis, reminding member states of the international body’s non-intervention policy.
During a meeting of foreign ministers from the 34-nation bloc OAS to consider the deepening concern of the member states regarding the ongoing situation in Venezuela, socialist Nicaragua and Bolivia as well as the Caribbean countries of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines suggested that the international body should stay out of the crisis and allow the Venezuelan people and government of socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro to resolve the issue.
Tom Shannon, the U.S. State Department’s undersecretary for political affairs, condemned Maduro’s actions, namely the socialist dictator’s crackdown on peaceful protests and dissent.
“Our goal is to return to full respect for the rule of law, full respect for freedoms of political expression and participation,” said the American official at Thursday’s OAS meeting, joining other member states in calling for “urgent action” to alleviate the crisis.
“The collective commitment to promote and consolidate democracy that we the nations of the Americas have enshrined in core OAS instruments remains a model for other regions in the world,” Shannon continued. “Today is an opportunity for us to demonstrate this commitment remains alive and well and relevant to the current plight of our Venezuelan neighbors.”
Nevertheless, member states agreed to postpone the meeting to a later date in June after nearly five hours of discussion.
The meeting came as anti-Maduro protests raged in Venezuela. Food and medicine are also scarce while inflation is believed to be in the triple digits following four years of recession, fueled by failing socialist economic policies and the decline in global oil prices.
Citing economists Orlando Ochoa and José Guerra, Venezuela’s El Nacional reported in March that the Maduro government counts on the support at the OAS of “small islands of the Caribbean that benefit from the supply of Venezuelan crude oil.”
“These Caribbean nations are Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Haiti,” added the news outlet.
Ochoa was proven to be right at the OAS meeting on Thursday. Socialist Nicaragua, a staunch ally of Venezuela, has also benefitted from Venezuelan’s oil supplies.
The representative of Nicaragua expressed the Central American countries opposition to the meeting altogether, arguing that Venezuela is the victim of a “political lynching.”
Nicaragua condemned and rejected the attempt to ‘‘subvert the rights’’ of a sovereign country, declared the country’s diplomat Luis Alvarado.
“We demand the end of the political lynching,’’ added Alvarado.’‘Nothing can be imposed on the great and sovereign nation of Venezuela. It is absolutely essential that these actions cease.’’
“Nothing we do will be useful without Venezuela’s participation” and “involvement,” noted Alvarado.
Venezuela did not attend the meeting and has begun the process to withdraw from the OAS alliance altogether.
Echoing the Nicaraguan diplomat, Bolivia’s Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni Mamani accused the OAS of choosing ‘‘aggression’’ and “confrontation” over dialogue.
Bolivia is a member of the socialist Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, known by the acronym ALBA for its name in Spanish.
Dr. Everson Hull, the representative for Saint Kitts and Nevis, stressed “constraints” in the form of OAS policies that allegedly prevent the international body from intervening in chaos-ridden Venezuela.
“We are duty bound to respect the provision set forth in the OAS charter, which is very explicit with respects to the constraints to which we are subjected as we seek to fashion a solution [to the situation in Venezuela,” said Dr. Hull.
Quoting the OAS charter, he reminded the member states,”The Organization of American States has no powers other than those expressly conferred upon it by this charter, none of whose provisions authorizes it to intervene in matters that are within the internal jurisdiction of the member states.”
The representative of Antigua and Barbuda said his country also opposed the convocation of Thursday’s meeting to find a solution to Venezuela’s problems.
“Antigua and Barbuda did not agree with the convocation of this meeting because we are committed to the principle of non-intervention as set out in the charter of the OAS,” declared Ronald Sanders.
The ambassador for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines also highlighted the OAS’s non-intervention policy.
Amb. Lou-Anne Gaylene Gilchrist, said, “The delegation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines expresses its outstanding respects for the principles of sovereignty and non-intervention.”
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