Organization of American States Ousts Maduro Official as Venezuela Envoy

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro delivers a speech during a pro-government demonstration in Caracas on March 23, 2019. - It is two months since Juan Guaido has asserted he is Venezuela's interim president. Domestically, he has been unable to shake President Nicolas Maduro from power. (Photo by Juan BARRETO / AFP) …
JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC — A majority of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Permanent Council members on Tuesday voted to recognize an appointee by Venezuela’s Interim President Juan Guaidó as the international body’s special representative for the South American country.

The vote dealt a blow to the regime of socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro — which, along with the policies of its predecessor Hugo Chávez — has plunged Venezuela into security and political chaos, prompting hundreds of thousands of residents to flee and those who stayed behind to resort to desperate measures to survive.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has led an international effort, backed by about 50 countries, to recognize Guaidó as the interim president, a move that Maduro and his supporters — including Russia, China, and Iran’s narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah — continue to dispute.

In June 2018, the OAS General Assembly made up primarily of Latin American and Caribbean countries declared that the May 2018 elections in Venezuela that deemed Maduro the president lacked legitimacy.

The international body’s permanent council in January approved a resolution to “not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s new term.”

That same month, Venezuela Interim President Guaidó, with the support of the country’s National Assembly, appointed Dr. Gustavo Tarre as the Venezuelan Special Representative to the OAS.

On Tuesday, the OAS Permanent Council officially recognized Tarre as the special representative despite opposition from a few member states that denounced the vote as a violation of international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty, including Mexico.

In a press release, the OAS noted:

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today approved a resolution on the situation in Venezuela in which it resolves “to accept the appointment of Mr. Gustavo Tarre as the National Assembly’s designated permanent representative, pending new elections and the appointment of a democratically elected government,” and instructs the Secretary General “to transmit the text of this resolution to the Secretary General of the United Nations.”

The resolution was approved with 18 votes in favor (Argentina, The Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, United States, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Saint Lucia), 9 votes against (Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Grenada, Mexico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela), 6 abstentions (Barbados, El Salvador, Guyana, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago) and one absent country (Belize).

Asbina Ixchel Marin Sevilla, the outgoing OAS representative for the Maduro government, argued that “the OAS does not have the authority to recognize or not recognize the governments of members states.”

She went on to say that the OAS Permanent Council’s resolution to accept the appointment of the Guaidó official strips Venezuela of its sovereignty and amounts to a violation of international law.

Sevilla accused the OAS of backing a coup in Venezuela, adding before the permanent council voted to recognize Tarre:

What is going to happen today Mr. chairman is the end of a wave of violations and tricks that have converted the OAS into a weapon against Venezuela and has violated the international foundation that was built by the OAS. It has now made this house uninhabitable … we’ve encouraged [an OAS] secretary general that promotes war against Venezuela. … We are leaving the OAS and we will never come back.

The pro-Maduro permanent council members argued that all OAS member states should have voted on recognizing the Guaidó official, with the representative for Antigua and Barbuda dismissing the approved resolution as a “rare form of democracy.”

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