The Organization of American States (OAS) opens its 53rd General Assembly in Washington this Wednesday, in an environment of “challenges on all political issues” in the region and where issues such as the political crisis in Nicaragua and Venezuela will continue to be present in the debates.
The meeting, to which 24 foreign ministers from the 33 active countries within the regional organization have confirmed their participation, remains open to receive countries that “have excluded themselves because they have not been able to take the measure to embrace democracy and respect for human rights,” said the organization’s secretary general, Luis Almagro, at a press conference in the run-up to the event that will end on Friday.
“The doors of the OAS are open for the re-entry of democratic countries,” said the Secretary General.
Venezuela and Nicaragua decided to leave the organization that is governed by the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Despite the proposals of some countries in the region to manage the re-entry of Venezuela to the OAS, under the cloak of new commitments for the protection of human rights, Almagro is critical of the political situation and credibility of Venezuela in the current context. .
“There are no visible advances in democratic functioning” in Venezuela “nor in the protection of human rights, nor in the situation of political prisoners, nor in justice nor in the prosecution of cases against humanity,” said Almagro, noting that In the South American country there is no separation of powers, and there is a complete lack of fundamental freedoms.
Almagro described the situation in Venezuela as “a collapse.”
“It is a country that has generated the worst migration crisis in history, with 7 million migrants, the worst humanitarian crisis,” he said.
The 53rd General Assembly brings together 116 delegates from 43 countries in Washington, including members of the organization and observer countries. Civil society representations have registered 518 participants, said OAS Assistant Secretary Néstor Menéndez.
The heads of diplomacy will not attend from Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia. Colombia has not confirmed whether Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva Durán will attend either.
The OAS meeting will also serve as a platform for a speech by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who will speak via video.
Menéndez said that the General Assembly brings together other instances that work with multilateralism in the region, “such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Juridical Committee, the Administrative Tribunal, the Audit Committee and Justice Studies, the Center for Americas”.