The OAS’ General Secretary Luis Almagro issued a second report on “the alteration of the constitutional order and the democratic order in Venezuela” this past 14th of March thus going into the final phase in the application of the Interamerican Democratic Charter (IDC) as a way to find an institutional solution to the crisis caused by the Venezuelan dictatorial regime. In 30 days, Nicolas Maduro must; “call for general elections, free political prisoners, reinstate legislation that had been annulled, elect a new National Electoral Council (CNE in Spanish), and a new Supreme Justice Tribunal (TSJ in Spanish) according to procedures stipulated in the constitution” or else the OAS will suspend the membership of the Venezuelan government.
The OAS’ charter “recognizes that representative democracy is indispensable for the region’s stability, peace, and development.” Applying that principle and the objective of “promoting and consolidating representative democracy” all member states approved on 11 September of 2001 the IDC which in its first Article acknowledges that “all America’s nations have the right to democracy and their governments have the obligation to promote it and defend it” and proclaims that “democracy is fundamental for the social, political, and economic development of America’s nations.” The IDC outlines “the essential elements of democracy” and affirms that “democracy is fundamental for the effective exercise of basic freedoms and human rights” and that “democracy and the economic and social development are interdependent and mutually complementary.
The IDC is not a conceptual and enunciative tool only, because in its 4th Chapter it contains mechanisms aimed at “the strengthening and preservation of democratic institutions” outlining in Articles 17 through 22 a system to ensure democracy not be vulnerable and defenseless.” These are binding procedures for all member state’s governments to apply. The activation and application of the IDC, therefore, abides to the rules and standards of democracy that member states have imposed on themselves, subjecting their adherence to obligations reflecting universal values and principles that ensure the people are the sole owners of sovereignty.
Throughout the decade of Insulza’s tenure at the OAS’ General Secretariat all principles and obligations relative to democracy were deliberately and premeditatedly twisted, manipulated, or ignored by either direct measures, or political impositions from the Chavez-Castro power axis that controlled the majority of votes as a return of political favors stemming from Venezuelan oil grants, sizeable economic aid, and fear of destabilization and toppling of non-aligned governments. The Castro-Chavez strategy sought to eliminate the OAS which it always claimed to be an instrument of US’ imperialism, reason why they created other replacement organizations such as UNASUR. They did not eliminate the OAS but paralyzed it and discredited it, rendering it useless when dealing with the ousting of democratically elected governments in Bolivia in 2003 and in Ecuador in 2000 and 2005, or forcing it to behave contrary to its principles such as in the Guatemalan case in 2009.
With his first extraordinary report on the “Venezuelan crisis” General Secretary Luis Almagro placed in motion the rescuing of the goals and purpose of the OAS. He was able to muster a meeting, on 23 June of 2016, of the Permanent Council to deal with his report and thereby “activate the IDC.” The impact to the Castro-Chavez axis, aligned with the 21st Century Socialism’s (SSXXI) group was tremendous because it took for granted its control of the majority of OAS’ votes and it miscalculated the fact that Almagro –being from the left- elected by them and a former Minister of Jose Mujica in Uruguay, was “one of its own.” The response from the Venezuelan regime, full of insults, was centered on simulating mediation and dialogue, as the General Secretary well points out in his second report “this response was decisively functional to the strategy of the government to remain in power.”
The second Almagro’s report on Venezuela is damning. It courageously shows that “Venezuela violates all Articles of the Interamerican Democratic Charter (IDC)” and states that “our efforts must be focused on restoring the Venezuelan people’s right to democracy” and that “the people of Venezuela confront a government that is no longer responsible, and for whom the constitution is meaningless” and that “the Rule of Law no longer exists in Venezuela because it has been eliminated by a Judicial Branch that is completely controlled by the Executive Branch” and “today in Venezuela not one single citizen has any possibility to exercise their rights” and that this whole situation known world-wide “makes us accomplices from afar, conveniently waiting for others to take action” and thus “makes us all responsible of omission.”
The follow up report points out that “if there are no elections under the stipulated conditions (in 30 days), it would then be a viable opportunity for Venezuela’s membership to be suspended in all of OAS’ activities under the premises of Article 21 of the IDC. The proposal urges to find a “real way out” of the crisis acknowledging that “when people talk about a real way out, they mean toppling a government” and affirming that “we (in the OAS) must talk about elections.” Secretary Almagro ensures he means Venezuela’s suspension when he tells other governments from the region that “the values of the organization and of our countries do not allow us to share with a government that breaks the democratic order, violates with impunity the rights of its citizens, keeps political prisoners, tortures, robs, corrupts, traffics in drugs, and keeps its people suffering from the lack of foodstuff, medicine, and resources to subsist.”