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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a Chavista rally. (Photo: Venezuela Ministry of Communication)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a Chavista rally. (Photo: Venezuela Ministry of Communication)

Turning Blind Eye to Brazilian Coup, OAS Targets Venezuela's Maduro

Secretary General invokes Democratic Charter at the behest of Venezuela's right-wing opposition at the same time Brazil faces an overt crisis of democracy

Lauren McCauley

The head of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday called for an emergency meeting over what he described as an "institutional crisis" of democracy in Venezuela. But supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and other leftist governments in the region, are saying that—while Brazil essentially "burns under coup"—the hemispheric body is going after the wrong villain.

In a 132-page letter (pdf), OAS secretary general Luis Almagro invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter, calling for a permanent council meeting to address the "alteration of the constitutional order and how it gravely affects the democratic order" in the socialist country.

"The institutional crisis in Venezuela demands immediate changes in the actions of the executive branch," Almagro wrote, adding that the South American nation is "at risk of falling immediately into a situation of illegitimacy."

As AFP explains, the Permanent Council may vote to suspend Venezuela's membership in the OAS with a two-thirds vote. The move was requested by Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress to assess whether the Maduro government was in violation for imposing a state of emergency as the country struggles with shortages of food, medical supplies, and blackouts as a result of plunging oil prices.

Maduro has said that the "fascist right," with the help of the United States, is attempting to capitalize on the crisis to overthrow the leftist government.

Meanwhile, Almagro has not remained impartial during this time. TeleSUR reports:

The former Uruguayan foreign minister has been brazen in his attacks on the government of Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, including penning a tirade against Maduro published on the OAS website on May 19. The letter prompted OAS member state Ecuador to issue a swift rebuke, saying Almagro's statement "uses improper terms and a tone removed of equanimity and restraint required by the representative of an organization that brings together thirty-four states in the hemisphere."

This is the first time an OAS chief has activated the charter against a member state over the will of its government. And, critics note, it comes as another left-wing member government is facing an overt crisis of democracy.

"OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro invoked the body’s Democratic Charter against Venezuela, which could lead to the suspension of the Caribbean nation from the Organization of American States, while taking no action in regards to the recent legislative coup in Brazil which placed a right-wing unelected government in power, who has very close ties to the Obama Administration," notes TeleSUR, which is funded by the governments of of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Bolivia and is headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela.

The recent ouster of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was recently exposed by leaked transcripts to have been orchestrated by government, military, and oil officials seeking to escape an internal corruption probe.

"Despite such damning reality in Brazil and mounting evidence that opposition lawmakers and elite conspired against the democratically elected government," TeleSUR continues, "Almagro opted to take no action and instead invoke his body’s charter against Venezuela upon the request of the Venezuelan opposition, which leads the country’s national assembly."

However, the state-sponsored media outlet charges, "the reality is according to the body’s charter and its 28 articles, what has happened in Brazil does in fact warrant taking action by the OAS against the coup government."


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