Pacta sunt servanda
This Sunday, Nicolás threatened the whole world, cautioning that the Venezuelan people could become “the largest and most powerful army in the world” against any deranged attempt to meddle in our internal affairs, but as the title says, agreements are binding, which is the best summary of the common spirit of the majority of countries that met yesterday in the OAS Permanent Council.
The Bolivian government owes so much to Venezuela’s regime, that its ambassador before the OAS, Diego Pary Rodríguez, who was named president of the Permanent Council last Saturday, unilaterally suspended the extraordinary sessions requested by 20 countries, causing strong responses from all ambassadors who considered the action an abuse, an extremely serious overreach and a terrible precedent for the organization.
In the OAS, all member States carry the same weight and there are rules that transcend the will of subservient ally. With the endorsement of the institution’s legal advisor, Jean Michel Arrighi, they read the rules, which establish: “In case the President is temporarily absent, he will be replaced by the Vice-president, and in case the Vice-president is also absent, he will be replaced by the most senior member,” who was, in this case, Honduras’ representative Leónidas Rosa Bautista. The countries requested to carry on with the session due to a “deep concern about the severe unconstitutional violation of democratic order” in Venezuela. There was quorum and, after a long recess to notify all the countries that were absent from the chamber, the session began.
Moncada’s latest assault
During the first address to the assembly, granted by rank to Argentine Foreign minister Susana Malcorra, Diego Pary entered the chamber, and unleashed a tirade of insults against Honduras’ representative and temporary Permanent Council President, accusing him of staging a coup. Venezuela’s representative Samuel Moncada issued similar statements, showcasing what Colombia’s ambassador called a “knack for faking his condition as a diplomat,” saying: “There is a coup d’État in the OAS!”
I don’t know who told the Venezuelan Foreign ministry that in order to sanction a member State that violates democratic principles, the State must authorize the discussion about its violations and the sanction itself. In any case, that was the basis of Moncada’s constant angry interventions, once more insulting ambassadors, throwing up his hands and slamming his glasses against the table, while trying to persuade the chamber that TSJ’s latest rulings reverse the breakdown of constitutional order. He exceeded even his own previous stupidity by claiming that the fire at Paraguayan Congress was an example of the extreme situation required for him to be heard. Moncada left the session in protest, together with Bolivia and Nicaragua.
It would seem that the Venezuelan regime wants to destroy the last shreds of support they have left, paid with gas. Peru pointed out the incoherence of having invoked the Democratic Charter in 2009 and rejecting it now as an instrument of international interference, and Paraguay described the characteristics that make theirs a democratic government. It’s even ironic that Venezuela complained about the indignity of tutelage, considering that Cuba has been directing the regime’s every move. In any case, Peru read the draft resolution they had prepared for the session, for all member States to hear.
What does the document say?
Approved by the consensus of 17 States, with the abstentions of Bahamas, Belize, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, the text ratifies the principles of the Democratic Charter, reaffirms the promotion and protection of Human Rights as well as the importance of branch autonomy, and expresses serious concerns about the severe violation of democratic order in Venezuela. Consequently, it declares that the TSJ’s decisions to suspend AN faculties and taking it for themselves are incompatible with democratic practice and a violation of the constitutional order, resolving to urge the Venezuelan government to restore full authority to the National Assembly and begin diplomatic actions to promote the normalization of democratic institutionality. The text was approved without a vote (by consensus) by 17 States in the Chamber despite Canada’s insistence to postpone the vote until Wednesday with a more solid text and the support of other member States.
The Bolivian diplomat said that the decisions taken during this Monday’s session about Venezuela will be illegal and arbitrary and announced that he’ll denounce the institutional coup against his country’s presidency in the Permanent Council before all international bodies, without saying which ones. He said that the session being held despite his decision to cancel it “is serious for Inter American relations (…) because (Bolivia’s) sovereign right to assume the presidency has been violated.” He’s a terrible spokesman for a diplomat. If you add this to the Venezuelan Foreign ministry’s statement denouncing “an unprecedented event aimed at destroying the OAS (…) in their obsession to impose their illegal and profoundly unfair plan to use Venezuela to stage the re-imposition of a new fascist hegemony,” you have a popcorn-fest in the making.
Get out of here, OAS!
“Bolivia and Haiti were victims of a coup d’État. In their despair, OAS broke all the rules,” said Nicolás yesterday during his cadena, showcasing his PhD. in brazen indiscretion. Even though the most transcendent part of his speech was his decreeing of the entire Holy Week as holiday for public workers “to cool down the situation,” he was the one who cooled down —a lot— going from offended anger to random storytelling.
The complaint becomes a blunder when he doesn’t make the right decisions, when he repeats the same baseless accusations, and when most of those accusations describe you better than your enemy: “Arrogance and pride are destroying them”; “What they’re doing is illegal and unconstitutional”; “They haven’t learned to recognize other countries (…) their only plan: sowing hatred and division.”
He’s as bad at storytelling as he is at governing, because in the midst of an institutional crisis, he decided to go watch “Beauty and the Beast,” but not before claiming that the new wave of progressive countries is rising. He didn’t have the guts to pull Venezuela from the OAS. It doesn’t matter how many insults he spews against Luis Almagro, the Secretary General’s performance, supported by principle, has been impeccable. Check the video of his speech at the end of the session.
Just like the arguments given by El Salvador and the Dominican Republic to abstain were ridiculous, the final interventions of Costa Rica (with precise and orderly information) as well as Paraguay and Chile regarding the preeminence of democracy and the responsibility to help oppressed nations were inspiring. There’s no way for chavismo this time to call this a triumph for their fake diplomacy. To clarify: the OAS invoked the Democratic Charter for the first time during the coup of 2002, favoring Hugo Chávez.