Venezuela has decried a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) as a “coup d’etat” on the situation in the Latin American state, with Caracas’ envoy storming out of the 34-nation regional body’s session in a show of protest.
Samuel Moncada, Venezuela’s deputy minister of foreign affairs for North America, rejected a resolution adopted at the Monday meeting, which condemned the developments in his country as an “act of treason.”
“The convening of this meeting is illegal. We reject it and denounce it to the whole world. This is a coup d’etat right here in the OAS,” Moncada said.
Some 20 countries of the 34-nation bloc, including the United States, had called for Monday’s meeting of the OAS Permanent Council at the weekend. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has already urged the expulsion of Venezuela from the group.
Monday’s session was initially called off by Diego Pary Rodriguez, Bolivia’s OAS ambassador, who had just assumed the temporary presidency of the meeting.
The Bolivian Foreign Ministry said the meeting had been cancelled because it had been scheduled “without consultation and without delivering any information to Bolivia.”
However, the regional body went on to hold a meeting in the afternoon despite objections from Bolivia. The afternoon’s session was chaired by Honduras.
Representatives of Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and various nations from the Caribbean also joined the protest and subsequently walked out of the session, according to a report by the pan-Latin American teleSUR satellite TV.
The meeting later adopted a resolution urging Caracas to restore the full authority of the National Assembly and to restore what it called “democratic order” and the rule of law under the constitution.
Rodriguez later described the action as an “institutional coup” in an interview with teleSUR.
“The OAS has committed an institutional coup, it has disregarded the presidency of Bolivia and the vice presidency of Haiti,” said Rodriguez.
The Bolivian diplomat said the measures against Venezuela are “totally illegal and arbitrary and don’t correspond to the norms of international law.”
Later, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also spoke at the presidential palace, criticizing the OAS.
“The OAS has surpassed itself in its aggression against Venezuela,” he said. “It is truly a court of inquisition with all the abuses and vulgarities we have seen the past few days.”
Ties between Caracas and the OAS hit a new low last week, when Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that the National Assembly was in “contempt” and annulled its legislative powers.
However, the Supreme Court reversed its ruling on Saturday after Maduro asked the judicial body to review the decision.
The initial Supreme Court ruling drew angry reactions from the Venezuelan opposition and its supporters both at home and abroad, including the OAS.
The OAS took side with the Venezuelan opposition, accusing Maduro’s government of carrying out a “self-coup.”
Venezuela, which has the world’s highest inflation rate, is facing severe shortages of food, medicine, and basic household goods after a slump in global oil prices. The country is also grappling with a high unemployment rate.
Maduro blames the economic crisis a US-sponsored ploy, which according to him is aimed at destabilizing the country.
The opposition has been calling for the resignation of Maduro, who was elected in 2013 for a six-year term. There have been protests for and against the Venezuelan president in recent months.
Venezuela’s opposition has also been demanding a recall referendum against Maduro, who was elected in 2013 for a six-year term.