Thursday, April 27, 2017

Venezuela Withdraws From Organization Of American States

Venezuela, shaken by a wave of protests by the opposition where about 30 people lost their lives in almost a month, announced on Wednesday its withdrawal from the Organization of American States (OAS), accused of "interference "By the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

"Tomorrow (Thursday) we will present a complaint to the OAS and we will launch a process that takes 24 months" to bring the South American country out of this regional organization based in Washington, announced on television the head of the Venezuelan diplomacy Delcy Rodriguez.
The OAS, whose secretary-general Luis Almagro has treated the Venezuelan leader as a "dictator", met on Wednesday to convene a mini-summit of foreign ministers of the region on the Venezuelan crisis, without specifying Of date.
Ms. Rodriguez had already threatened to leave the organization on Tuesday evening if such a meeting took place. At the beginning of April, she accused several countries in the region of acting in concert in favor of interference in Venezuela's affairs, to "satisfy the interests of Washington."
Mr. Almagro, one of the most internationally critical of Mr. Maduro, had repeatedly announced his intention to invoke the organization's democratic charter to secure the suspension of Caracas from the OAS.
This diplomatic coup d'etat takes place when clashes again opposed Wednesday the police and opponents of the government.

- Tear gas rain -

The two groups faced each other on the Francisco-Fajardo highway, the access road to the capital and the theater of previous clashes, under a shower of tear gas and jets of water on one side, Molotov cocktails and projectiles the other.
Several other parades in favor of early elections were held across the country.
Dressed in white and wearing red, yellow and blue Venezuelan flags, the anti-chavists (named after the late President Hugo Chavez, 1999-2013) had only one objective: to reach the heart of Caracas, considered a bastion of power, To demonstrate before the premises of the Ombudsman the authority to ensure respect for human rights.

As on other occasions, they were prevented by the police. A sign of the atmosphere rendered unbreathable by tear gas, a school close to the clashes in Caracas had to be evacuated, AFP found.
"I want to die in a Venezuela freed from the dictatorship. I have been protesting for almost a month and will continue until we finish," Elizabeth Freites, 77, told AFP.

On Thursday, opposition MPs, a majority in Parliament, have scheduled a meeting in a public place and pay tribute to the last demonstrator who died in Caracas.
Ramon Muchacho, the mayor of Chacao, a district of Caracas, denounced on Twitter the death of this 20-year-old boy, hospitalized Wednesday "without vital signs" after being hit in the chest by a gas cartridge. The prosecution confirmed this death.
Earlier, the prosecutor's office had announced the death last night of a 22-year-old man shot and wounded during a demonstration in northern Valencia.

- 28 dead -

In total, there are already 28 dead, according to the latest report of the prosecutor -29 according to the head of state - which also counted 437 wounded and 1,289 people arrested for various disorders and rampages.

This record is the heaviest since the wave of protests in 2014 that officially made 43 dead.

Almost all these April marches degenerated into clashes and looting. To this was added the violence exercised by the "colectivos", groups of civilians armed by the government, according to the opposition.
A total of 14 journalists were arrested and 106 were assaulted in four weeks, the National Union of Press Workers said.

In response to these opposition demonstrations, government supporters walked en masse on Wednesday to the presidential palace of Miraflores, to listen to the head of state.
The spark at the origin of this wave of demonstrations, almost daily since early April, was the decision of the Supreme Court to assume the powers of Parliament, the only institution controlled by the opposition since the end of 2015.

The opposition had denounced an attempt at a "coup d'etat" and the resulting diplomatic outrage had finally forced the judicial authority to backtrack 48 hours later.
In this oil country whose economy collapsed with the fall in crude prices, the majority of food and medicines can not be found. Seven Venezuelans out off ten want Maduro's departure, according to a Venebarometro poll.

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