Organization of American States: Capitol Riot ‘a Serious Attack’ on Democracy

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

The Organization of American States (OAS) issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the “exercise of force and vandalism” by supporters of President Donald Trump at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, earlier the same day.

“The OAS General Secretariat condemns and repudiates the attack against institutions being carried out today in the United States by protesters who disavow recent electoral results. Democracy has as its fundamental pillar the independence of the powers of the State, which must act completely free of pressure,” an English version of the statement read.

“The exercise of force and vandalism against the institutions constitutes a serious attack against democratic functioning. We urge a return to much-needed rationality and a conclusion of the electoral process in accordance with the Constitution and the corresponding institutional procedures,” the OAS statement added.

The OAS is an international organization aimed at fostering solidarity and cooperation among its members, which include 35 independent states of the Americas. It is headquartered in Washington, DC.

The OAS issued Wednesday’s statement in response to a large rally in Washington, DC, that culminated with rioters breaking into the U.S. Capitol building. The rally gathered thousands of people demonstrating against the results of the November 3 U.S. presidential election, demanding that they be overturned. The results, in favor of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, were set to be certified by the U.S. Congress on January 6.

The resulting chaos devolved into violence. Police shot and killed one female demonstrator inside the Capitol and arrested at least 60 people following the incident, during which at least three additional people died from “medical emergencies.”

The United States led the founding of the OAS in 1948 as a forum for regional diplomacy. Washington fostered the OAS hoping the coalition would help safeguard Latin America against the spread of communism during the Cold War (1947-1991). Since the early 1990s, the OAS has focused predominately on supporting fair elections, promoting the rule of law, and protecting human rights throughout Latin America.

Individual countries within Latin America, including OAS members Cuba and Venezuela, joined the body in commenting on Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. The official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, Granmacompared the incident to the burning of the White House by British forces in 1814 and the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.  Venezuela’s socialist government officially condemned the violence. Diosdado Cabello, considered Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s right-hand man, wrote on Twitter, “I’ll be brief: America, what a disaster. We will triumph!”

Cuba and Venezuela are not legitimate members of the OAS as the group’s Charter prohibits membership for undemocratic states.

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