14 OAS Nations Sign Letter Demanding Venezuela Hold Elections, Release Political Prisoners
Español Fourteen countries in the Organization of American States called on the Venezuelan government to hold elections this year and to release political prisoners.
This Thursday, March 13, over a dozen of the countries in the international alliance released a letter increasing their pressure on Venezuela, which has been struggling with food and medicine shortages, censorship and potential economic collapse — the blame of which has been placed almost entirely on President Nicolás Maduro and his administration.
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“We consider it urgent to give priority to the release of political prisoners, to recognize the legitimacy of the National Assembly’s decisions, in accordance with the constitution, and to establish an electoral calendar, which includes previously postponed elections,” a statement published by a series of foreign ministries read.
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States and Uruguay all signed the document, which expressed their “deep concern” for the country’s political, economic and social crisis.
The 14 member nations confirmed they will evaluate OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro’s report “with the intention of agreeing on the pertinent course of action,” though they warned that the suspension of a member country would be a last resort.
Instead, the signing countries said that dialogue and negotiation are the ideal way to reach a sustainable solution.
Almagro issued a 75-page report last week in which he proposed to suspend Venezuela from the organization should no elections be held within 30 days.
Article 21 of the OAS Diplomatic Charter states that if the Assembly, the highest body of the OSA sees that there has been a breakdown of the democratic order in a member state and that diplomatic efforts have been unsuccessful, they may suspend that state from the organization.