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News > Latin America

Almagro Backtracks, Doesn't Want Venezuela Suspended from OAS

  • OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro participates in the 46th General Assembly of the Organization of the American States in Santo Domingo, June 15, 2016.

    OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro participates in the 46th General Assembly of the Organization of the American States in Santo Domingo, June 15, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 June 2016

OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro appears to be on the defensive in recent interviews and has tried to justify his recent undiplomatic behavior.

Facing a review of his actions as secretary-general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro changed his tune on Venezuela, saying that he does not want to see the country suspended from the regional bloc.

OAS Backs Venezuela, Approves Review of Almagro's Actions

“No one wants to expel Venezuela from the OAS … the invocation of the Democratic Charter establishes a process, in which suspension is naturally the last step. No one wants to arrive at that outcome,” Almagro told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo in an interview published Monday.

Almagro's hostile attitude toward the democratically-elected government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro betrays his most recent comments however.

The Venezuelan government has accused Almagro of pursuing a vendetta against Maduro, though Almagro denied that it was personal in recent interviews.

Almagro stepped out of diplomatic protocol and penned a hostile letter to Maduro accusing him of sliding toward being a “petty dictator” after the Venezuelan president made heated statements accusing Almagro of becoming a traitor by giving a helping hand to the CIA and U.S. interests.

The OAS head now claims that he wants to engage in diplomacy.

Almagro told El Tiempo that his use of the Democratic Charter was designed to promote dialogue.

But only days ago, it appeared that Almagro was committed to suspending Venezuela from the OAS and parroted many of the criticisms made by the Venezuelan opposition, alleging in his report a “grave breakdown” in institutional order.

Kerry Says US to Back Venezuela Dialogue, Won't Push OAS Exit

However, in its most recent General Assembly, the OAS member states rejected Almagro's efforts at intervention and instead voted to back mediated talks between the Venezuelan government and opposition members.

The change in tone from Almagro could be a result of the fact that the OAS member states also accepted a request from Venezuela for the Permanent Council to assess whether OAS chief Luis Almagro’s move to invoke the Democratic Charter against the South American nation was legitimate.

In an interview with Perfil, Almagro brushed off that decision, calling it "superfluous."

Almagro is growing increasingly isolated, even from the United States and U.S-friendly governments in Latin America.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. opposed the application of the Democratic Charter against Venezuela and instead said he would send a high-level delegation to Venezuela to smooth relations.

The governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua demanded Almagro step down.

Even his political mentor, former Uruguayan President Pepe Mujica, publicly broke with Almagro.

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