Venezuela crisis defies diplomatic solution as leftists cling to power

by WorldTribune Staff, June 1, 2017

As Venezuela continues to collapse under socialist rule, left-leaning countries who support President Nicolas Maduro insisted at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) that other nations have no right to interfere in Venezuela.

The May 31 OAS meeting in Washington ended with no consensus on helping to solve the dire situation in Venezeula, which has been racked by triple-digit inflation, surging crime rates and severe shortages of food and medicine. At least 60 people have died during protests against Maduro’s government.

Opposition supporters clash with riot security forces while rallying against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on May 18. / Reuters

“We’re talking about people dying, dying,” said Brazil’s Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes. He argued that democracy was “not a luxury” and asked: “What can we do collectively to make a difference, to reach out to the Venezuelan citizens, to rescue their fundamental freedoms?”

Nicaraguan diplomat Luis Alvarado said his country, which supports Maduro, condemned and rejected the OAS’s attempt to “subvert the rights” of a sovereign country.

“We demand the end of the political lynching,” Alvarado said through a translator. “Nothing can be imposed on the great and sovereign nation of Venezuela. It is absolutely essential that these actions cease.”

In New York on May 31, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said Maduro’s opponents should feel “deeply frustrated” that the U.S.-led plan to intervene in Venezuela’s crisis had failed. Venezuela also threatened to leave the OAS.

“The only consensus from this meeting is that there is no consensus,” Rodriguez said.

The next gathering of the OAS is scheduled to start on June 19 in Cancun, Mexico.

Tom Shannon, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, urged Venezuela to stay in the OAS and defended the group’s right to try to resolve the crisis.

“We believe there is an international role in the rebuilding of trust among the main political actors in Venezuela as well as the reduction of tensions,” Shannon said.

Protesters are demanding new elections and fault Maduro’s leadership for the country’s desperate situation.

Maduro has vowed to resolve the crisis by forming a special assembly to rewrite the constitution, a proposal protesters have rejected.

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