The message was loud and clear: the ongoing economic, political, and humanitarian crisis is undermining human rights and their democracy.

That was the blunt warning delivered to Venezuelan officials after 20 member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) voted to debate the Venezuela crisis at a Permanent Council meeting on Tuesday.

Venezuela’s response was to attack the messengers.

Rather than respond to the crisis in Venezuela, he accused OAS members of supporting a “coup” against the Maduro administration and attacked other governments’ records.

At the OAS, the Venezuelan representative tried, with the support of a handful of allies, to stop the meeting. He argued that debating the Venezuelan situation without the government’s consent amounts to interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs, violating the country’s sovereignty. Rather than respond to the crisis in Venezuela, he accused OAS members of supporting a “coup” against the Maduro administration and attacked other governments’ records.

Back in Venezuela, the Supreme Court, at this point little more than an extension of the presidency, was ruling that a statement approved days earlier by the opposition majority in the National Assembly, supporting the OAS debate, constituted “actions that run counter to [Venezuela’s] independence and national sovereignty.”

The court ruled that the legislature’s statement may constitute treason and warned that the legislators responsible would not enjoy parliamentary immunity. It ordered the president to adopt “economic, military, criminal, administrative, political, juridical, and social” measures that “he deems pertinent and necessary to avoid a state of commotion.” These are broad enough to include almost anything, but the court explicitly authorized President Nicolás Maduro to modify criminal laws, including the Code of Military Justice, noting that “military crimes may be being committed.”

The ruling opens the door to prosecution of opposition legislators in military courts, simply for performing legislative functions. In a country with more than 100 political prisoners, including some prosecuted in military courts, where the government is crushing dissent and suspending elections in a desperate struggle to stay in power, this is a real threat.

In this context, mounting regional pressure is good news. Governments pushing for the re-establishment of democracy and human rights in Venezuela —including Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States— should use Venezuela’s reaction to the OAS meeting as further evidence that the Maduro’s administration is willing to deploy the machinery of government —including the courts it has so thoroughly subordinated— to silence critics.

Multilateral diplomacy is the only way to go to ensure that Maduro releases all political prisoners, allows elections, accepts appropriate humanitarian aid, and re-establishes the independence of all branches of government.

10 COMMENTS

  1. “Blunt warning” for what kind of consequence?. Getting the Democratic Charter applied?, Getting expulsed from the OAS?. Blockade perhaps? from whom and how?, US invasion?

    There is a thing called “cognitive bias” where people tend to see their own subjective reality and in this case what you got is a “confirmation bias”.

    My posture here is on the logic that Maduro has been coached and mentored by the Cubans that just happened to survive without the OAS since 1962. An expulsion from the OAS will at best result on moving Maduro a lot more closer to Russia and China not on all those hopes that you seem to believe.

    Maduro won’t care what outcome this “process” will have as long as the OAS distraction drags for a year or more. He will continue to drag his feet giving small concessions (and concessions they are) to keep us begging for handouts and of course keeping our hopes alive.

    If no one has noticed Maduro is on an attrition war because he knows that oil price recovery is matter of time. He won this one because the ultimate conclusion is that the OAS supports a dialogue.

    So, who in the fuck is going to have dialogue with a bunch of turds that the only thing they know is that bullying works. Is the third time when they fuck us over when we win?.

    An what about an invasion?… with all the Chinese and Russian money invested in Venezuela (and yet to be recovered) and the leverage those countries enjoy in Asia and Europe, do you think the US would play with that match box?. Particularly since Venezuela is no longer “strategic” after all the oil production coming from US shale and soon from Guyana.

    The invasion was invented by Maduro to amalgamate his fractured people. Because Maduro may be a dumb ass but he is a smart dumb ass at the level of Soze Kaiser.

    Nope, we remain the US backyard and if we don’t get wise we will sooner than later realize the vision of becoming a banana republic dictatorship.

    • If anyone honestly believes that there is a likelihood of oil price recovery (going up) I would not hold your breath.

      Iran is pumping as fast as they can to recover lost capital from the markets. (thanks Obama!)
      Americanos are pumping from existing wells and looking at the options for opening up new ones. (thanks Trump!)

      Those 2 factors will keep prices below 50USD/barrel for the next 4+ years.

      I see little reason to belive Maduro’s “war of attrition” is going to be effective as his costs of oil recovery continue to climb. How are they going up? The Bs has such poor exchange rate and no creditors will loan them capital to improve their extraction capabilities.

      Lets face it, Americanos has ZERO interest in VZ improving its oil output capabilities in this part of the hemisphere.

      Does that mean the US policy is to advocate for VZ failure? No, but, we have no reason to stand in the way of their failure either.

      – The AN/MUD want nothing to do with help from Trump (fine by me!!! less is more)
      – Madura needs more boogie men to stir up national pride (and so we have another reason not to be involved!!! Fine by me, I’m in no mood to nation build any more)
      – Any help the USA were to provide would only prop up the Chavistas anyhow as they would use this to reinforce their control. “Feeding the beast”.

      It truely is time to stop picking the “lesser of two evils”.

  2. columbine,
    very well said. king maduro could care less of the OAS, or any alphabet organization. He and his cronies spout flame throwing garbage, and feint shock and outrage over foreign invasion tactics and alleged moves and motives. Why? Because, most if not all of the 30+ american countries have skeletons in their closet, and abhor being cast as the accuser. Much better to bite their collective tongues. Like the UN or any legitimate collection of governments, writing and promoting what is good, is easy. Confronting and changing what is bad, is almost impossible. Too many insiders with something to lose. If a meteor had a 99.9% to strike the USA, bottom dollar russia and iran (for example), would abstain on a vote to fund a solution.

    Anyway, the king is simply waiting for oil to recover. personally I do not think this will happen, but I do not have the balls to invest every penny I have. The king on the other hand has no choice. He is in for the long haul, come hell or high water. He is a smart f..cker. He has spread the wealth to the military, and in the process has made them complicit in the rape of the country. Of course he has the courts, and controls the “constitution” by re-writing it at will

    He has a pacifist population, that has been fed the drug of oil for 20 years, and a subset of that population that will continue to the grave believing that it is there innate right to that black bounty.

    While (it seems) a majority of the population still longs for the “good ol Chavez” days, and no matter the change in the future, believes a government that gives. Cheap Electricity, Gas, Free Health, University etc. with little demand of the people.

    the rest of the population is educated and wants the hell out. As well they value there life, and would rather run than fight. i get it. who doesn’t want a good life.

    The king is counting on the able to flee. Times have changed. The world is global. Venezuelan for the most will be content to be a professional in Peru, Spain, the US or elsewhere. Leave that mess back there

    What is everyone waiting for? the king to run out of money? a revolution? the 2018 election?

    Dream on…..

  3. “Multilateral diplomacy is the only way to go…”

    Mr. Vivanco, while I am sure that all of the other countries in the region would like to believe this, it is certainly NOT true. There are other avenues, but more specifically, there is the popular rebellion, among others. Two times in the last three years, the Opposition has led the Venezuelan people to the brink. Both times, it was defused with the promise of international multilateral diplomacy. Both times, this achieved nothing for the Venezuelan people.

    If you seriously think that the Regime cares about what its regional neighbors think, then you should watch the video of yesterday’s OAS meeting. This is not the posture of a regime that that is open to diplomacy.

    With all due respect, Sir, I see no support for your conclusion.

  4. Perhaps I should apologize for the colorful language. I must confess that I am still fuming for the September 2016 fiasco.

    My call here is to avoid naïve interpretations of what these people are willing to withstand in order to stay in power. When you have a country that has a vice-president, a congressman and the chief of intelligence clearly marked as drug kingpins; when you have a country which leadership is willing to kill its own people by famine, lack of medicine, legal violence and/or unchecked crime; when you have a country which highest representatives, the ultimate custodians of law and order are willing to sell themselves for the highest bidder then there should not be illusions of continental citizenship forcing them out.

    That being said, we have to eat the elephant one bite at a time. The OAS efforts and particularly Mr. Almagro should keep going even if we may call this last chapter a draw. But it has to resonate on the people most interested on change, and that is on us.

    • “I must confess that I am still fuming for the September 2016 fiasco.”

      I as well. It was proven to be a pointless exercise and wasted precious political capital for immediate gratification that was horribly short lived. A week at best?

      Maduro and the Chavistas came out STRONGER as a result and got the Vatican and dictator loving man-in-the-tall-hat to rally to their socialist cause.

  5. Bananazuela is a reality. The two triggers for U.S. military action are WMDs and terrorism. The reds know this. The Cubans know this. Everyone knows this. Traveling under the radar is what they do and do best thanks to Castros. Even cocaine, which in the 80’s was a trigger, is not even mentioned in America anymore. Send us all your cocaine, your hungry and your sick….for we will gladly take them.

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