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News > Latin America

OAS Almagro Compares Venezuela To Rwanda: I Was Misunderstood

  • Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro gives a speech during a plenary session of Mexico's Senate in Mexico City, Sept. 8, 2015.

    Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro gives a speech during a plenary session of Mexico's Senate in Mexico City, Sept. 8, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 September 2018

OAS head Luis Almagro said he was misunderstood, saying he wouldn't rule out military interventionism in Venezuela. Then he compared the country to Rwanda.

Uruguay’s Communist Party (PCU) is looking to remove the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro from his post, as well as from a coalition of parties the PCU belongs to in the small South American country, after the former Uruguayan foreign minister said he would not rule out military intervention in Venezuela.

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In a statement, the PCU said the OAS leader has shown a "new act of servility and irresponsibility." The political party said that Almagro has long been "transforming into a pawn of imperialism."

The PCU said it would hold Almagro accountable for "any aggression" and "consequences against the Venezuelan people and peace on the continent."

On Sept 14, as Almagro was ending a three-day visit to Colombia, the OAS leader said from the border city of Cucuta: "As for a military intervention (in Venezuela) we should not rule out any option. ... Diplomatic action is the place to start, but we must not rule out any actions."

The Uruguayan Communist party said that the OAS "is an instrument of destabilization and aggression, and a danger to peace and democracy."

For his part, the OAS leader said his words regarding Venezuela were misunderstood. Via a Twitter video Almagro said on Monday that his words were twisted by the media and that "it is not true (that he) favors an armed intervention in Venezuela.”

"I said that we must exhaust the path to diplomatic action and that we must leave all options open. This was interpreted as though we were talking about military interventions,” said the OAS leader. “It ’s not true — it would be childish to worry about those interpretations," emphasized Almagro.

During his six-minute Twitter video, the diplomat added that it’s the international community’s responsibility to protect Venezuela from turning into a situation similar to the crisis in Rwanda.

“We must not wait for Venezuela to be Rwanda, we must avoid (it) being Rwanda. And millions of people are murdered, tortured, displaced in Venezuela. The responsibility is to protect, not to count the dead," Almagro claimed on his social media account.

An estimated 1 million people, mostly Tutsi, were killed in the 1994 Rwandan civil war genocide. Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro had worked for months, even years to diplomatically negotiate differences with opposition parties until these politicians walked away from the negotiating table in February.   

Venezuelans have had to leave the country as it has been strangled by U.S-led international economic sanctions.

Almagro finally said that all OAS members must act within international law toward Venezuela. "We must act in accordance with international law and the inter-American system. We do that by denouncing crimes of human rights violations, corruption and a government's link to drug trafficking before the International Criminal Court," Almagro said.

“Venezuelan government leaders want me to be silent, ... but I will not do it until the dictatorship falls," concluded Almagro.

Uruguay's communist party called for its government to reject "Almagro’s conduct and the plans of Yankee imperialism".

Several heads of states, including Evo Morales and even the Lima Group, a conglomeration of 14 right-wing Latin American and Caribbean governments even denounced Almagro’s use of ‘military intervention’ when discussing Venezuela.

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