Thousands of Venezuelans March Against Imperialism, OAS Interference

Marchers did not mince words in response to OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro. “Almagro, put that letter up your ass”

Young people seemed to dominate the numbers at an anti-imperialist march, early on Tuesday in Caracas, Venezuela. This, as thousands pounded the streets, expressing a sense of fatigue at constant right-wing attacks on the country’s sovereignty.

The march was a direct counter for opposition marches, as Venezuela’s MUD coalition rallied its supporters in a bid to further solicit the application of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) so called ‘Democratic Charter,’ which could see the country suspended from the regional bloc.

From a podium just outside the opposition-led National Assembly building, PSUV Vice President, Diosdado Cabello, gave a powerful speech that garnered huge rounds of applause heard for blocks around. The top socialist leader slammed moves by opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly to remove of Supreme Court judges.

This comes after the court’s decision, last week, to assume temporary authority to approve mixed enterprises – a function that court acknowledged as territory for the National assembly, which the court says is currently in contempt for allowing unauthorized people to serve as lawmakers. The court, one day later, rescinded the decision due to criticisms from both opposition and government ranks.

“We are here, fighting like every one else,” said Mayin Sequera, a member of the youth group, Juventud Rebelde(Youth Rebellion). “We are fighting to uphold the Bolivarian Revolution. We are here to tell the world that we are an independent people. We are a democracy, and we have autonomy over our own affairs.”

On Monday, the OAS held a controversial, extraordinary meeting where a partial group of member states adopted a resolution which listed three points of action against Venezuela following the Supreme Court decision and subsequent reversal. The resolution said the events “constitute an alteration of the constitutional order of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” and threatened “further diplomatic initiatives to foster the restoration of the democratic institutional system.”

At the OAS’ Monday meeting for the resolution, Venezuela’s representative and various other countries stormed out of a session of the 35-nation bloc, calling it an institutional “coup d’etat” after Bolivia was summarily removed as council president so the states who proposed the motion could continue with the meeting.

Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, reacted to the meeting, saying that the OAS “has surpassed itself in its aggression against Venezuela”, and that it “is truly a court of inquisition with all the abuses and vulgarities.”

The move by the OAS is unlikely to help resolve the country’s problems, nor the tensions between the main political factions.

For many Venezuelans, especially those in the streets, the response is resounding: “Leave Venezuela in peace!”

From TeleSUR

Venezuela and Bolivia Condemn “Coup” at OAS

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and Argentine representative Juan Jose Acuri convince Honduran ambassador Leonidas Rosa Bautista to act as “interim president”.

By Lucas Koerner

Caracas, April 3, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela and Bolivia condemned Monday what they termed a “coup” in the Organization of American States (OAS) after an extraordinary session concerning Venezuela was held without the presence of the president and vice-president pro tempore in violation of internal protocols.

On Friday, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro called a “special meeting” scheduled for Monday to discuss a since-reversed Venezuelan Supreme Court ruling that would have empowered the judiciary to assume parliamentary functions in light of the opposition-controlled National Assembly’s contempt of the constitution.

The meeting was, however, suspended Monday morning by Bolivia, which assumed the OAS Permanent Council’s rotating presidency Saturday, on the grounds that the Bolivian delegation “was not consulted and did not receive any information” regarding the session it was meant to facilitate.

In an official statement, Bolivia’s Foreign Ministry indicated that the session would be rescheduled “once the necessary coordination had been carried out in the framework of the OAS Charter and organizational norms”.

Despite the cancelation, at around 3pm in the afternoon a group of 20 countries decided to hold the meeting regardless, designating Honduras as “interim president” in the absence of the president, Bolivia, and the vice-president, Haiti.

The move was sanctioned by OAS legal advisor Jean Michel Arrighi, who argued that in the absence of Bolivia the presidency could be exercised by the longest serving representative in the body, whom he claimed was Honduran delegate Leonidas Rosa Bautista.

However, screenshots of the OAS’ official delegate page uploaded by Venezuela’s OAS mission revealed that in fact Bolivia’s representative, Diego Pary Rodriguez, is the longest serving ambassador to the OAS.

Rodriguez, for his part, slammed the motion to go ahead with the session presided by Honduras as an “illegal” usurpation of its powers in violation of the organization’s internal statutes.

“Today what is happening is an institutional coup and a disregard for international norms,” he affirmed.

Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Venezuela all called points of order during the intervention of Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra in an attempt to abort the meeting. The representatives form Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador subsequently walked out of the session in protest.

Notwithstanding the objections, Honduras proceeded to open debate over a text presented by Peru that declared an “altercation of the constitutional order” in Venezuela and resolved to “urge action by the Venezuelan government to safeguard the separation and independence of powers”.

After nearly 24 minutes of debate, Venezuela’s delegate, Samuel Moncada, also walked out of the session, condemning the violation of the OAS Charter’s “principle of non-intervention” as well as the body’s internal rules.

In particular, the Venezuelan ambassador denounced Malcorra’s remarks during the session, after she called for neighboring countries to exercise “tutelage” over Venezuela to “ensure compliance with the electoral timetable”.

Quoting Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, he declared, “he who wants to be an eagle can fly, he who wants to be a worm can crawl, but don’t cry when you’re stepped on”.

El Salvador similarly protested the “abnormal manner” in which Honduras assumed the presidency, urging dialogue as the only solution to the current standoff in Venezuela, a call that was seconded by the Dominican Republic.

Despite the dissentions, the Mexican delegation motioned for the resolution “to be adopted without proceeding to a vote”, a proposal that was also backed by Chile.

Canada’s ambassador, for her part, proposed for the vote to be postponed until Wednesday in order to have more member-states present at the session.

Ultimately, the resolution was not subject to an official vote, being instead approved by consensus with the support of just 15 of 35 member-states: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, United States, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Barbados, Guatemala, Panama, and Uruguay.

Meanwhile, Belize, Bahamas, El Salvador, and Dominican Republic refused to support the document.

The resolution was roundly condemned as a “coup d’état” by Caracas and La Paz.

Speaking on national television Monday evening, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called the move “a coup against the sister peoples of Bolivia and Haiti”.

“It’s shameful what they are doing, I think the OAS has gone on to become an anti-Venezuela, anti-Bolivarian inquisition court,” he asserted.

Bolivian President Evo Morales likewise took to Twitter Monday to blast the abrogation of his country’s right to exercise the OAS pro tempore presidency.

“Once again the OAS has become the Ministry of Colonies. An institutional coup has occurred to prevent Bolivia from exercising the presidency,” he said

The OAS Permanent Council is set meet again on Wednesday for an ordinary session, though it remains unclear if Venezuela will be on the agenda.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court Annuls Controversial Decisions on Legislature


By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas

Caracas, April 1st 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) has partially annulled two controversial rulings released this past Wednesday, including one that granted the judiciary temporary powers to assume the role of the legislature and another calling into question lawmakers’ parliamentary immunity.

The measure was taken following an urgent meeting of the National Security Council, convened this past Friday night by President Nicolas Maduro.

According to changes made to both decisions on the Supreme Court’s website, the judiciary announced that the article referring to parliamentary immunity in ruling number 157 had been “struck down”.

It also clarified that “in relation to point 4.4 of the ruling [no. 156], with respect to the Constitutional Tribunal guaranteeing that parliamentary responsibilities will be exercised directly by this body or by another at its disposition in defense of the rule of law; said content is struck down”.

On Friday night, Venezuela’s National Security Council met to resolve the institutional crisis that emerged this past Friday between the country’s legislature, judiciary and the attorney general, Luisa Ortega, who represents an integral part of the citizen branch of government.

The controversy is rooted in the approval of two rulings released by the TSJ this past Wednesday in relation to the status of the National Assembly, which the judiciary currently declares to be in contempt of court. The legislative body has refused to remove three legislators currently under investigation for electoral fraud according to TSJ stipulations, and in violation of a Supreme Court order.

Wednesday’s TSJ decisions granted temporary rights to the judiciary to assume the role of the National Assembly until the situation is resolved, as well as indicated that National Assembly legislators were not eligible for parliamentary immunity in view of the violation.

The rulings sparked heated debate over their legality under the Constitution. While Attorney General Ortega described the move as a “rupture of the Constitutional order”, the rulings were defended as legal by former Public Prosecutors and the Venezuelan Ombudsman.

Six decisions were put forward by the National Security Council in the early hours of Saturday morning in a bid to end the impasse.

Although the Council’s resolutions ratify the Supreme Court as “the competent body for the control of Constitutionality in relation to any National Public Power which collides with the Magna Carta, as well as for the resolution of conflicts between powers”, the body nonetheless exhorted the TSJ to review the two controversial rulings in the interests of “institutional stability and the balance of powers”.

It also called on the opposition, grouped under the coalition the Roundtable of Democratic Unity, to agree to participate in national dialogue with the government facilitated by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Vatican “without delay”.

In addition, the Council expressed its “categorical rejection of any intervention” against the country’s independence, territorial integrity and self-determination.

“The matters of Venezuelans must be resolved exclusively by us,” it stated.

According to statements made by President Maduro, council members “conversed with Attorney General Luisa Ortega” while President of the Supreme Court Maikel Moreno, President of the court’s Constitutional Tribunal Juan José Mendoza, Vice-President Tareck El Aissami, Ombudsman Tarek William Saab, Comptroller General of the Republic Manuel Galindo, Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, and Planning Minister Ricardo Menendez, all participated in the meeting.

The de-facto President of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, was also invited but did not attend, said Maduro.

The opposition leader later confirmed that he had refused to participate in the meeting in protest at the country’s “constitutional rupture”.

“We are not going to attend any meeting… We cannot, in any way, accept invitations in which those who made a coup d’etat attempt to repair a crisis which they created,” he said.

The politician also indicated that the opposition would not participate in dialogue with the government, nor take part in efforts to address the country’s current institutional crisis unless its demands for immediate elections are met.

“The only thing that we expect in Venezuela is that actions are taken so that we can have elections in Venezuela, liberty for our political prisoners, respect for institutions, especially the National Assembly, the opening of a humanitarian channel, so that the country can expect medicines and food, so that Venezuela can choose, not just a change in government, but also a different system of liberty, progress, union and democracy,’ said Borges in a Periscope transmission on Twitter.

National dialogue between the government and the opposition was suspended late last year, after opposition delegates called time on the talks when the government refused to meet its demands for immediate national elections and the release of approximately 100 “political prisoners”.

Regional elections due to be held last year were postponed until 2017 by the National Electoral Council, although dates for the elections have still not been set by the electoral body. National elections are not due until 2018.

The opposition argued that national elections should be brought forward due to the country’s economic crisis.

Yesterday, several opposition legislators also submitted an official lawsuit to the Public Prosecution against the seven judges sitting on the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Tribunal.

The Supreme Court is expected to release an alternative ruling shortly in relation to its deadlock with the National Assembly. Its website was unavailable this Saturday morning.