As Both Venezuelan Government and Opposition Representatives Converge on Washington, the Ongoing Democratic Charter Saga Exposes Deep Hypocrisy

A meeting of foreign ministers and ambassadors of the Organization of American States (OAS) convened last week to discuss the ongoing efforts of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro to use the Inter-American Democratic Charter against the government of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Though there was no vote on whether to apply the Charter,[1] which provides for diplomatic intervention for any member that has experienced a “rupture in the democratic order,” the meeting at the OAS’s downtown Washington headquarters provided Almagro with another opportunity to voice his strong criticism of the Maduro government.[2]

The meeting had been scheduled so that Almagro, a former foreign minister in the José Mujica government in Uruguay, could read from a 132-page report articulating his claims that Venezuela has suffered a democratic break. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez, speaking to the gathering on behalf of the Maduro government, argued that the agenda should be rejected on the grounds that it constituted an inappropriate attack on a member state and could serve as a ruse for interventionism.[3] She said that Almagro was using the OAS “to harass and delegitimize the government of Venezuela.”[4] Her proposal was rejected by a vote of 20 to 12 with two abstentions, meaning that Almagro was able to proceed with reading the summary.[5]

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