The OAS has recently turned its attention to applying the Democratic Charter to Venezuela. The fact that Venezuela since 1999 has had highly developed and frequently practiced structures of representative democracy, much praised by international observers, is of no obstacle, inasmuch as a neocolonial power in pursuit of its particular interests scarcely is persuaded by fundamental facts. However, on March 28, 2017, the OAS Secretary General, in spite of U.S. support, failed to attain approval from the member nations for the activation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter against Venezuela (see “ALBA backs Venezuela” 4/21/2017). Cuba, being no great admirer of the OAS, was quick to respond, and not at all with timidity. Issuing a Declaration on the same day of March 28, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations observed that the OAS confronting Venezuela is the same OAS that has remained silent before violations of human rights in the hemisphere, including: coups d’état; disappearances; arbitrary detentions; the torture and murder of students, journalists and social leaders; unequal commerce; environmental degradation; and cultural aggressions. The Declaration considers OAS to be decadent and shameful, and in the service of the centers of power. It maintains that the failure of the strategy of the OAS Secretary General shows that Venezuela is not alone, and the failure is a victory for morality and Bolivarian ideas. Meanwhile, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez observed that the failure of the OAS to apply the Democratic Charter is a result of the fact that the political reality of Latin America has changed, and it is not what it was in the 1950s.
On April 16, an extraordinary session of the Permanent Council of OAS approved the convoking of a meeting of ministers of foreign relations to discuss the situation in Venezuela, without establishing a date for the meeting. The convocation of the meeting was approved by 19 states, with 10 against, four abstentions, and one absence. Venezuela denounced US efforts to apply pressure on member states to support action against Venezuela, and it announced its withdrawal from OAS.
In response to the convoking of a meeting of foreign ministers, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations issued a declaration on April 27. It maintained that the convoking of the meeting is consistent with the traditional role of OAS as “an instrument of imperialist domination in the hemisphere, with the goal of breaking the sovereignty, independence and dignity of Our America.” OAS, the Declaration asserted, consistently has turned its back on the people, acting in subordination to “oligarchical and imperialist interests.” “It has been absent when our region has been the victims of political, economic and military interventions and aggressions, or of serious violation of human rights and democracy.” OAS, the Declaration maintains, is incapable of representing the interests and values of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. It has imposed a false democratic creed, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands and for the poverty and exclusion of millions. The OAS does not respect the equality and self-determination of states, and “it conspires against and subverts genuine and legitimate governments constituted with demonstrated popular backing.” The Declaration concludes that the despicable conduct of OAS against Venezuela confirms that, “when there is a government that is not in the interests of the circles of imperial power and their allies, it will be attacked.”
The OAS is the diplomatic front of the battle against Venezuela. Another front has been an economic war waged by the commercial elite in Venezuela (see “Economic and media war against Venezuela” 6/9/2016). In addition, since the beginning of April, a sustained campaign of fascist-like violence has been unleashed by the Right, with the intention of establishing an international image of chaos and ungovernability, as a prelude and pretext for U.S. military intervention. We will look at the campaign of violence in a subsequent post.