Medellin, Colombia – The Uruguayan delegation walked out of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly on Thursday morning in protest of the inclusion of representatives of Venezuela’s political opposition in the regional body.
Mexico, Bolivia, Trinidad and Tobago and others also denounced the participation of the Venezuelan delegation, exposing objections to OAS leadership’s strategy of alliance with Venezuela‘s opposition, led by Juan Guaido.
“It doesn’t help anything,” said Uruguay’s representative, Ariel Bergamino, after he left the assembly.
“It’s a violation of this institution to try to make decisions about who is the legitimate government,” Bergamino said, adding he would not participate in the rest of assembly, which lasts until Friday.
Bergamino said the assembly should aim to help Venezuela “construct a climate of trust” that could foster a political solution and blasted the leadership of Secretary-General Luis Almagro, who has accepted Venezuela’s political opposition and dismissed the idea of negotiations with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido invoked Venezuela’s constitution in January to declare himself interim president, calling Maduro’s 2018 re-election illegitimate. Maduro has accused Guaido and the United States, who supports the Venezuelan opposition, of staging a coup.
No country at the OAS proposed the inclusion of Maduro’s government, which formally withdrew from the regional group in 2017. But some said it was improper to invite the political opposition, which operates no effective control over Venezuela, to sit among sovereign governments.
The group’s permanent council voted to recognise Guaido’s envoy in April.
Millions have left Venezuela in recent years, fleeing hyperinflation, unemployment and food and medicine shortages.
On Wednesday, the assembly said the crisis in Venezuela should be the region’s top priority. Member countries called on the international community to help provide aid to the country’s migrants and refugees.