Published 22 June 2017 by Venezuelanalysis.com
The United States failed Wednesday to persuade the Organisation of American States to condemn Venezuela’s government, amid growing speculation of a new round of unilateral sanctions.
On the final day of OAS talks in Cancun, Mexico, the US pressed for a formal declaration condemning President Nicolas Maduro’s handling of his country’s political and economic crisis. The proposal was strongly backed by US allies including the host country Mexico.
"Mexico's position on Venezuela is a position that will not waver, it's a position that says representative democracy is the only form of government acceptable in the Western Hemisphere," Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said, according to Reuters.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez responded by labeling Mexico and other US allies as “lapdogs of imperialism”.
"I think the only way [US government officials] can impose their will is with their marines, who would be met with a swift response in Venezuela," she said.
Rodriguez also sparred with Honduran Foreign Minister Maria Agüero, who asked how the Maduro administration plans on overcoming Venezuela’s crisis.
“You are saying that Venezuela is going through a humanitarian crisis. But forgive me, Venezuela does not have such horrendous records [as Honduras],” she responded.
Rodriguez continued, “As for the Human Development Index, Honduras ranks 130, while Venezuela is 71.”
The comment prompted applause from Venezuela allies. On the sidelines, a group of Venezuelan opposition supporters protested, demanding the OAS adopt a resolution condemning Maduro.
In the end, the motion against Venezuela secured the support of 20 OAS member states, falling short of the required two thirds majority by three votes. Venezuela allies including Bolivia, Nicaragua and a handful of small Caribbean states outright rejected the proposal, while Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, the Dominican Republic and others abstained.
Venezuela also sought to pass 10 resolutions of its own, including one rejecting the US-Mexico border wall, another expressing solidarity with the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students, and two others opposing Washington's anti-immigrant policies as well as its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. All these resolutions failed to pass.
Over the past weekend, Rodriguez was honored by a meeting of 90 Mexican social movements who declared the top Venezuelan diplomat "Foreign Minister of Dignity of the Peoples" for her role in standing up for the sovereignty of Venezuela and Latin America.
The drama at the OAS came as the US was reportedly considering another round of sanctions on Venezuela. According to a report from Politico on Wednesday, officials from the Trump administration said they are planning a “steady drumbeat” of sanctions, with the next round possibly being rolled out within weeks.
“We’re definitely moving beyond ‘strategic patience,’” one unnamed administration official was quoted as stating.
The US announced its latest wave of unilateral sanctions in May, when the Trump administration hit several Venezuela Supreme Court judges with travel bans and asset freezes. The sanctions were in response to a court decision that would have granted judges the power to pass legislation – a decision that was reversed before the sanctions were announced. Since coming to power, the Trump administration has also sanctioned Venezuelan Vice-President Tareck El Aissami, accusing him of involvement in the international drug trade, despite providing no evidence to bolster the claim. El Aissami has denied the allegations, and the Venezuelan government has warned the unilateral sanctions may violate international law.