Venezuela Threatens to Pull Out of OAS
Organization prepares to hold special meeting
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 26, 2017 12:37 AM CDT
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A couple holds hands at a roadblock set by anti-government protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, April 24, 2017.   (Ariana Cubillos)
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(Newser) – Venezuela is threatening to pull out of the Organization of American States as the government's response to political unrest that has been blamed for 26 deaths in recent weeks draws rebuke from the hemisphere's major powers. Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said late Tuesday that she had been instructed by President Nicolas Maduro to initiate withdrawal from the Washington-based OAS if the region's foreign ministers hold a meeting on the country's crisis without his backing, the AP reports. She spoke hours before envoys to the OAS were scheduled to debate a proposal by Mexico, Brazil, the US, and 13 other nations to convene a special meeting of foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela's "situation."

"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. International pressure on Venezuela to schedule delayed regional elections and free political activists has been mounting at the OAS amid the country's worst unrest since 2014. Venezuela's chief prosecutor put a spotlight on the extent of the violence Tuesday, saying more than 400 people had been injured and nearly 1,300 detained since anti-Maduro protests began in response to a Supreme Court ruling last month that stripped the opposition-controlled congress of much of its powers. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has called on the group to suspend Venezuela but he has so far been unable to rally two-thirds support among the group's 35 members to carry out such a threat.

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