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Jun 6, 2018

O.A.S. Vote Defeated to Suspend Venezuela, Elrington Calls for Compromise

Wilfred Elrington

A topic of intense discussion at the general assembly of the Organization of American States was the U.S. government’s call to suspend Venezuela. The Americans are supported by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru in resolving to reject the result of the recent presidential election, which handed Nicolas Maduro a second term by a wide margin despite most opposition organizations pulling out. Venezuela has already threatened to leave the organization. On Monday, Bolivia was the only O.A.S. member country to voice support for Maduro during meetings, but on Tuesday it was Belize’s turn. Belize has been long been a staunch ally of Venezuela regionally, having benefited from the largesse of the Petrocaribe agreement to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in concessionary payments for oil and other projects. The final vote was nineteen in favor of suspension to four against with eleven abstentions including Belize. However, the vote failed as twenty-four votes were needed for suspension. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, addressed the O.A.S. General Assembly and questioned whether it was not still possible to reach compromise.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“It is being widely contended that there are wide spread violations of human rights in this sister country, which is, inter alia, conducive to spread exodus from the country and that the democratic order is disruptive. As of every other occasion when our organization has been confronted which such grave and weighty allegations against a member state, our membership is invariably divided, if not polarized, on the issue. On this occasion we are divided both on the issue of the veracity of the allegations as well as on the issue of how best to treat the situation. Likewise each time our organization is confronted with such divisive issues, there arises the dreaded specter of a possible fracture of the organization, a specter which is in no wise fanciful, given the recent Brexit phenomenon. But the history of the organization shows it to be a most resilient organization. It has repeatedly demonstrated its capacity to find acceptable solutions to seemingly intractable problems.  I end this brief intervention with no solution of my own, but merely with a few questions. The first is this: is it really the case that the Venezuelan crisis is a matter of such fundamental principle on which compromise is absolutely unattainable? Two, is this crisis indeed beyond the capacities of our hemispheric leaders to come up with a peaceful solution which will end the horrendous suffering of the Venezuelan people and of their friends, which will conduce to a political accord between the opposing factions which is the only guarantee for a lasting peace in Venezuela?”

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