OAS Chief Calls for Stronger Sanctions against Venezuela to Force Fair Elections
Español President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro has demonstrated little seriousness in progressing a political dialogue in the Dominican Republic. As a result, Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro called for more sanctions against the dictatorship to force “serious negotiations” that will lead to legitimate elections.
Almagro, who has closely followed the human rights violations in the country, called on the international community to take “tougher” economic measures against the Venezuelan government. He said sanctions by the international community are the only diplomatic method of forcing Maduro to accept elections that are observed by third-party, international organizations.
Sec. General Almagro sobre #Venezuela: "El camino diplomático que queda es el camino de las sanciones y creo que tienen que haber sanciones cada vez más duras que permitan que el régimen venezolano permita un proceso electoral claro".
— Mariano de Alba (@marianodealba) January 4, 2018
“The diplomatic path that lies ahead is of sanctions and I believe that there must be increasingly harsh sanctions to allow the Venezuelan regime to obtain a clear electoral process, the construction of a guaranteed electoral system,” he said.
For Almagro, the way out of the crisis in Venezuela comes down to an increase in sanctions against members of the regime, and against the “economic and financial apparatus” that keeps it afloat.
“Today the electoral system in Venezuela, after the election of the National Constituent Assembly, and the dissociation of the (Smartmatic, the country in charge of counting votes) is practically uncontrollable,” he said. “This (lack of control) has been seen by those who participated in the constituent plebiscite, the regional elections and in the elections for mayors.”
Almagro expressed concern at the massive migration of Venezuelans. “If there is something that gives us some magnitude of the crisis, it is the migration of four million Venezuelans … It’s a higher migration than that of the Middle East to Europe,” he said.
The Maduro regime has shown that international sanctions are its weakness, and demanded that they be lifted during dialogues with the opposition.
“Venezuela will not have an election nor will it sign any agreement with the Venezuelan opposition until the gross sanctions that the Venezuelan right-wing leadership requested from the Treasury Department of Donald Trump and from the Canadian, Spanish and other authorities are lifted,” Communication Minister and spokesman for the regime in the negotiations, Jorge Rodríguez, said.
The regime blames the US for the financial sanctions that prohibit Americans from making new negotiations with Venezuelan federal officials or with the state oil company PDVSA. The countries that issued them have made it clear that sanctions will only be lifted when the rule of law and constitutional democracy are restored.
During a press conference, Almagro spoke of the possibility that the OAS will present an official demand to The Hague against Maduro. He said he hopes that by the end of January the final report by a panel of experts will be ready to decide whether there are grounds to take Maduro before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
“It’s very important that this document be of good quality, and it’s technical rigor is very important, and that their conclusions be based on the facts that arise from the hearings or the information sent by different organizations of civil society,” he said.
In September, the OAS appointed specialists from Argentina, Costa Rica and Canada to study possible crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Venezuelan government during demonstrations that took place between April and July.