Venezuela threatens to withdraw from OAS regional group as pressure mounts on President Maduro

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two-protesters-shot-dead-as-hundreds-of-thousands-march-against-venezuelan-government

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez on Tuesday (25 April) threatened that the strife-torn nation could pull out of the Organization of American States (OAS) if the group goes ahead with a possible foreign ministers meeting to discuss Venezuela's current political unrest, which has worsened over the past three weeks.

Rodriguez told state TV that President Nicolas Maduro had instructed her to initiate Venezuela's withdrawal from the organisation if it holds the meeting on the Venezuelan crisis without the ruling Socialist Party's backing.

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In the recent times, the Maduro-led socialist government and the OAS have not been on the same page. The regional body even called for the suspension of Venezuela from the group at the earliest. The measures were urged over Maduro's failure in meeting with the demands of millions of citizens to hold general elections as soon as possible.

The elections are scheduled to take place only in 2018. However, the opposition leaders and their supporters have been demanding that the government advance the vote to this year and that Maduro step down. The ruling Socialist Party has ruled out both the demands.

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Representatives of the Washington-based group are scheduled to meet in the city on Wednesday (26 April). They will discuss a proposal by 16 countries, including Brazil, Mexico and the US to convene a meeting of "Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs' on the situation in Venezuela", Reuters reported.

"We're not going to continue allowing legal and institutional violations that are arbitrary and surpass any moral, ethical and licit boundary that nations in this regional organization should respect," Rodriguez said.

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A two-thirds vote from the 34-member nations of the OAS' General Assembly will be required to suspend Venezuela from the body. However, Caracas may win the support of a few poor Central American and Caribbean nations that depend on Venezuela for crude oil.

It is thought that no country has ever withdrawn from the OAS since its creation in 1948. However, it is not clear how complex the process would be or how it will have an impact in the region, AP noted.

The leftist-run government sees the OAS as a pawn of the US. Venezuela has also accused the head of the organisation, Luis Almagro, a former Uruguayan foreign minister, as a collaborator working with its ideological adversaries in Washington.

Venezuela economy and Nicolas Maduro
Venezuela economy and Nicolas Maduro

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