Uruguay delegates walk out of OAS meeting in Colombia, rejecting presence of Venezuelan opposition and OAS leadership for allowing them in a move they call illegal.
Uruguay withdrew from a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) being held in Medellin, Colombia Thursday to protest the Juan Guaido representatives at the meeting. Guaido is the self-declared interim president of Venezuela whose several coup attempts against the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been backed by the United States.
Uruguay delegates at the OAS meeting say the Guaido reps, Gustavo Tarre and Julio Borges, are illegitimate.
“Uruguay considers this an attempt to impose the recognition of this delegation as legitimate representatives of Venezuela - it is no more and no less than a subjugation of the legality of the OAS,” Uruguay’s vice foreign minister Ariel Bergamino said during the meeting. “There is no other choice but to be against an act of this nature.”
“We are withdrawing from this meeting but not from the OAS,” Bergamino added.
Uruguay has long supported the elected government of Nicolas Maduro, attending his inauguration last January and stepping forward, along with Mexico, to host negotiations between the president and opposition leaders for the past several months.
Mexico, Bolivia, Trinidad and Tobago and other OAS members rejected Tarre’s participation as a supposed Venezuelan delegate during the two-day meeting in Colombia, accusing the organization’s leadership under Secretary General Luis Almagro of having alliances with Venezuelan opposition.
#Venezuela ya no es parte de la @OEA_oficial y no debería ser eje de sus debates; más aún ahora que este organismo tiene que centrarse en temas urgentes que son de alto interés regional, como la grave crisis de los migrantes que buscan llegar al norte y mueren en esa ruta.
#Venezuela is no longer part of the @OEA_oficial and should not be the axis of their debates; even more so now that this agency has to focus on urgent issues that are of high regional interest, such as the serious crisis of migrants seeking to reach the north and die on that route.
Almagro has sided with U.S. President Donald Trump several times during recent months saying that a military intervention in the oil-rich South American country was an option. In May he dismissed the talks taking place in Norway between Maduro and opposition representatives as the “wrong way.”
Meanwhile, Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez has always put forth peace in Venezuela as the way forward.
"We are not neutral, because when we had to choose between peace and war, we opted for peace and when many are shaking war drums, increasing the violence that already exists in Venezuela, our government opted for dialogue and for a peaceful and democratic way out," Vasquez said last March.
Mexican delegates at the OAS meeting pointed out that the credentials presented by the opposition delegation did not meet the standards necessary to be admitted to the assembly, while Bolivia said it reserved the right not to recognize what is approved during the meeting because of the delegation’s presence.
Several Caribbean countries that back Maduro also expressed dismay at the presence of the opposition delegation, while countries including right-wing ruled Argentina recognized the representatives.
Venezuela, home to the world’s largest oil reserves, has been strangled by sanctions by the Trump administration, leading directly to the deaths of at least 40,000 people inside the country who can’t get proper access to food and medicine, according to a Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) study from May.
The Uruguay delegates say they would not attend meetings during the first day of the event, but would take part in Friday's.