The Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council approved late Friday night after a whole day of discussions and by an ample majority, a statement in support of peace and an end to violence in Venezuela, where street protests and clashes have left at least 22 dead and hundreds injured and arrested.
The Permanent Council has just approved by 29 votes to 3, a declaration of solidarity with peace, dialogue and democracy in Venezuela, said Venezuelan ambassador before OAS, Roy Chaderton. This is a great victory for Latin America, he added.
The five-point declaration proposed by Bolivia was supported with the votes from Venezuela, and other ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) allies, while the US, Canada and Panama, were not completely satisfied. Grenada and Bahamas were not present during the vote.
Apparently the objections impeding a consensus statement were focused on the terminology calling for 'dialogue' in Venezuela, since there are dozens of claims of human rights abuses by the anti-riot National Guard forces and a more explicit support for democratic practices.
The fifteen hour session of Friday was behind closed doors.
The declaration encourages all sides in Venezuela to continue advancing in the dialogue process opened by the government of President Nicolas Maduro in the so called 'peace conferences', but which the opposition alliance has conditioned, demanding a release of all those protestors arrested and the withdrawal of anti riot forces and the disbanding of the 'colectivos' or armed gangs usually in motorbikes that open fire indiscriminately against demonstrations in the streets.
It is not balanced...I expected a greater neutrality from OAS said the Panamanian ambassador Arturo Vallarino.
The declaration has good pieces but we believe it didn't go far enough regarding dialogue conditions, said US representative Carmen Lomellin. The ambassador added that the document calls for solidarity with the Venezuelan people, sorrow for the victims and rejection of all forms of violence, 'plus requesting the Council to keep track of the dialogue, but does not specify how it will be achieved'.
The final statement was reached after two days of debate, which started on Thursday and took most of Friday.