Venezuela: President Maduro Isolated in Second Term

Newsroom MLN- Washington DC

The Organization of American States (OAS) approved on Thursday a resolution to call out Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s second term “illegitimate”.

The OAS’s Permanent Council in Washington D.C. voted “not to recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s new term beginning January 10, 2019.”  The count ended with 19 votes in favor, 6 against, 8 abstentions and 1 absent. The resolution was brought forward by Colombia, in behalf of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the United States, Paraguay and Peru.

Venezuelan protesters gathered at OAS in Washignton D.C. on Jan. 10 demanding President Maduro to resign. Photo by Lenin Nolly/MLN

At the main entrance of the OAS, under freezing weather a small but determined group of protesters from Voluntad Popular chanted anti-Maduro slogans and declared his presidency illegitimate. Since Wednesday various opposition groups via social media called for Venezuelans to protest in front of their corresponding embassies on January 10 around the world, to condemn President Maduro’s second term in office.    

Maduro Isolated in Latin America

The OAS’s announcement was made on the day the Venezuelan head of state held his inauguration ceremony and started his second term in office, and amidst the international controversy, where 14 member countries from the Lima Group rejected President Maduro presidency and demanded the democratically elected Congress take over.

The Lima Group is made up by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Saint Lucia.

Nearly immediately after the OAS’s decision Paraguay announced it was breaking diplomatic relations with Venezuela.   

Venezuela’s Retaliation

On Wednesday President Maduro via Twitter had warned that “he hope the President of the United States would rectify from the mistakes inherited from Obama’s administration, to establish a higher communication, one that would allow to build on respectful, cooperation and mutual work relations.”   

Furthermore, President Maduro calling the Lima Group, the Lima Cartel warned they had 48 hours to rectify their decision, one he described as “meddling” against his nation. The Caribbean nation’s head of state warned he would take strong diplomatic measures against them to defend what he labeled as “the dignity of the Venezuelan people.”  

Since October 2018, guest speakers gathered at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) agreed that Venezuela’s presidency was in jeopardy and the humanitarian crisis could only continue to get worst unless prompt action was taken by the international community in the region.

An estimated 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country in the past three years, and others are expected to do so as the Caribbean’s country economy continues to implode.

Up to date, Venezuela’s government has rejected international humanitarian aid.

Call for Actions from Latin American Governments

While Colombia’s Ambassador Alejandro Ordonez said at the OAS explained “they extended an invitation to respect the principle of non-indifference, back in October Cheryl Urban has been South America and Inter-American Affairs, Global Affairs Canada explained Canada will continue to work with the Lima Group and partners and will further support the group’s resolution as they have downgraded their diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

 “We support states not governments…We do believe January 10 marks the beginning of an illegitimate term,” she said referring to President Maduro’s taking office.

Urban who has overseen Canada’s response to the Venezuelan crisis, including Canada’s hosting of the third Ministerial meeting of the Lima group, reminded the audience that Canada has not had an ambassador in Caracas since the summer of 2017.

Ambassador Patricio Torres, the Chilean Secretary General for Foreign Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at CSIS the one important aspect not to lose focus when dealing with the Venezuelan crisis is that in Venezuela “there is not rule of law”.

Chile who is also a member of the Lima Group rejects a military intervention in Venezuela but has since called for unity in the region to deal with the unprecedented political and humanitarian crisis.

What to Expect Post-January 10

Some of the actions the Lima group members have called upon to do post-Jan 10 include:

Suspending accreditation of Venezuelan ambassadors and to expel them from the respective country’s hosting them; recognize the legitimacy of the democratically elected General Assembly and the Supreme Court outside of Venezuela and empower them; ban any future international agreements with President Maduro administration; deny visas to members of the Venezuelan administration and take legal actions against those incurring on criminal activities abroad.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login