Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez walks out of Americas summit in Mexico amid protests

June 20, 2017 7:30 pm

Venezuelan Foreign Minister leaves a meeting with foreign ministers ahead of the OAS 47th General Assembly in Cancun, , on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

’s foreign minister has walked out of a meeting of regional diplomats held to discuss the South American country’s political crisis as a 17-year-old anti-government demonstrator was shot and killed by security forces during another day of violent clashes in Caracas.
The Organization of American States meeting being held in the Mexican resort of Cancun on Monday once again narrowly failed to approve a resolution against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The United States, Mexico, Canada and several South American nations issued a statement expressing their “disappointment” at the vote, which for the second time in a month fell a few votes shy of the two-thirds majority of the 34 member nations needed for approval.
“What can we say to the sick, who can’t find medicines?” Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said of the setback, referring to the medicine shortages that Venezuelans are experiencing.
As the meeting took place, thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to protest against Maduro’s government. Protesters chanted “Who are we? Venezuela! What do we want? Freedom!”
Amid the clashes on Caracas’ main highway, 17-year-old Fabian Urbina was killed as the result of a bullet wound to the chest. Several others were also shot.
In a rare rebuke of security forces, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol blamed excessive force by national guardsmen for the shootings, saying that troops who fired into the crowd would be held accountable.
The reproach came after cell phone videos circulated on social media showing the national guardsmen firing into a crowd in brazen violation of rules against using firearms to control protests.

Opposition activists clash with riot police during a demonstration against the government of President Nicolas Maduro along the Francisco Fajardo highway in Caracas on June 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters marched in Caracas, on Monday, to show their support for the country’s Constituent Assembly and Maduro
Several diplomats made reference to the growing violence on the streets in Caracas. But it wasn’t enough to persuade enough countries to take a tougher stance against Maduro. 
Venezuela’s socialists have long enjoyed the support of left-leaning governments in loath to back measures they see as meddling in a sovereign country by an organization they consider an arm of US 
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez stormed out of the meeting, and claimed that more OAS members who she didn’t name were considering following Venezuela’s example and withdrawing from the Washington-based group, which has been putting pressure on her socialist government to hold timely elections, free political prisoners and scrap a bid to rewrite its constitution.
“Not only do we not recognize this meeting, we do not recognize any resolution coming out of it,” Rodriguez said.
Some countries had expressed hope at Monday’s meeting that they were close to some kind of pronouncement aimed at ending the increasingly bloody political strife in Venezuela, which has left at least 70 people dead and more than 1,300 injured. But the special session on Venezuela ended with no resolution approved.
What failed to gain enough votes was a relatively strongly-worded proposal calling on Maduro to “reconsider” a call for an assembly to re-write the constitution. The proposal got 20 votes in favor, five against and eight abstentions. Venezuela was counted absent.
The resolution would also have called for an end to violence, and for Maduro’s government to respect the separation of powers. He has been criticized for subjugating the judicial and electoral powers, even after he lost control of the country’s legislature.
Venezuela has struggled with an imploding economy, rampaging inflation and chronic shortages of food and basic consumer goods. Maduro has accused his opponents of sabotaging the country through an “economic war.”
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