But the situation in Venezuela was the main issue discussed, both on and off the record.
Next week, Permanent Council will convene to discuss the report on Venezuela, made a month ago by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, invoking the Democratic Charter.
Since then, Venezuela started a face-to-face fight between the secretary general and the Venezuelan Government.
During the General Assembly, Venezuela presented a resolution to diminish the secretary general’s role. Among the proposal’s “resolves” are:
To express its profound concern at the conduct of the Secretary General of the Organization, Luis Leonardo Almagro Lemes, especially his abuse of authority and exceeding of the powers conferred on him under the OAS Charter and the General Standards to Govern the Operations of the General Secretariat, and at his violation and lack of respect for the Code of Ethics of the General Secretariat
To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its forty-seventh regular session on compliance with this resolution.
Venezuela is attempting to diminish the secretary general because he is the only one denouncing, in detail, the ongoing violation of human rights by Maduro´s regime. His 132-page report, which will be discussed next week, has been compelling and emphatic.
There is a very deep division between the ALBA countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela) and a group of 15 countries which want to find a real solution to the the Venezuelan people’s is suffering. Those 15 countries decided to issue a statement before the end of the OAS GA, a sort of a preamble for the meeting of the Permanent Council next week.
We, Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), reaffirm our commitment to the Charter of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which proclaims that “the peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy, and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it”, and our commitment with the respect of the principle of noninterference, universal principles and values of democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech and association;
We reaffirm the Declaration of the Permanent Council of the OAS (CP / DEC 63 2076/16) of June 1, 2016, by which we express our fraternal offer to the Sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to identify, by common accord, a course of action that that will assist the search for solutions to the situation through open and inclusive dialogue among the Government, other constitutional authorities and all political and social players of that nation to preserve peace and security in Venezuela, with full respect for their sovereignty;
Support a timely, national, inclusive, and effective political dialogue to address the immediate needs of the Venezuelan people in accordance with their Constitution and ensuring full respect for human rights and the consolidation of representative democracy;
Express our support for the efforts made by former Presidents Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain, Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic and Martin Torrijos of Panama and the desire that this process will arrive at positive results in a reasonable time frame;
Encourage respect for the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that enshrines, inter alia, the separation of powers, respect for the rule of law and democratic institutions and express our support for the fair and timely implementation of constitutional mechanisms;
and Condemn violence regardless of its origin and call on the responsible authorities to guarantee due process and human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly and free expression of ideas.
We welcome the participation of former presidents Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain, Martin Torrijos of Panama and Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic at the extraordinary meeting of the Permanent Council scheduled for next June 21, 2016 to present the progress of the initiative of the national political dialogue in Venezuela, and we reiterate our support for the convening of the extraordinary meeting of the Permanent Council on June 23, 2016 for the consideration of the report of the Secretary General on Venezuela. /signed/ Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, June 15, 2016
In the last decade, Iran has penetrated Latin America, Hezbollah has the freedom to move inside Latin America and it is all happening in Venezuela.
There is no real judiciary system, no freedom speech and far too many politic prisoners.
After so many years, OAS has used its secretary general to speak out. The statement of the 15 countries is cautious, but it is a step forward. How many more steps are they ready to advance? Today, it is uncertain.
In the private meeting between B’nai B’rith International and Secretary General Almagro in Santo Domingo during the OAS GA, Almagro was very clear when he told us that he will not answer to more insults and threats; he follow OAS rules and defend the respect of the Democratic Charter.
Now, the Permanent Council will have to show its commitment to democracy next week.
Eduardo Kohn, Ph.D., has been the B’nai B’rith executive vice president in Uruguay since 1981 and the B’nai B’rith International director of Latin American affairs since 1984. Before joining B'nai B'rith, he worked for the Israeli embassy in Uruguay, the Israel-Uruguay Chamber of Commerce and Hebrew College in Montevideo. He is a published author of “Zionism, 100 years of Theodor Herzl,” and writes op-eds for publications throughout Latin America. He graduated from the State University of Uruguay with a doctorate in diplomacy and international affairs. To view some of his additional content, Click Here