Almagro's Long Game

At first, pushing the Democratic Charter without having the votes first seemed like a rookie mistake. Now it looks almost visionary. Could this have been Almagro's plan all along?

At the time, his decision to fast-track invocation of the OAS Democratic Charter without really having the votes to see it through seemed to paint OAS SecGen Luis Almagro as a somewhat rash diplomat.

A couple of weeks later, after Henrique Capriles met Argentine president Mauricio Macri in person and Venezuelan foreign minister Delcy Rodríguez had what looks like a combative face-to-face with John Kerry, it looks like Almagro was playing a deft long game instead. Quoth the Journal’s Juan Forero,

Mr. Kerry, though, said in his address to the OAS that the Obama administration stands with Mr. Almagro “in calling on the Venezuelan government to release political prisoners, to respect freedom of expression and assembly, to alleviate shortages of food and medicine, and to honor its own constitutional mechanisms.”

The secretary of state said that included permitting “a fair and timely recall referendum,” which the opposition is hoping to mount this year to remove Mr. Maduro from office and trigger new presidential elections.

“Venezuelans have the right to use constitutional mechanisms to express their will in a peaceful and a democratic manner,” Mr. Kerry said.

Eight days ahead of a new OAS meeting to discuss the Democratic Charter in relation to Venezuela, with the UNASUR mediation dead, with Maduro refusing to meet UNASUR advisors, and Argentina’s opposition to the charter invocation apparently overcome, with Delcy lamely complaining of ‘international bullying’ and the Supreme Tribunal taking a brave stance against Humanitarian Assistance the Venezuelan government has never looked more isolated in the hemisphere.

The next eight days will be critical to the denouement of the crisis. Strap in.