Venezuela

OAS chief offers to resign in exchange for Venezuela’s ‘freedom’

A demonstrator returns a tear gas canister to National Guard soldiers, during clashes with security forces on the Francisco Fajardo highway, outside La Carlota Air Base in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, June 23, 2017. More than 70 people have been killed during almost 90 days of protests seeking President Nicolas Maduro's removal.
A demonstrator returns a tear gas canister to National Guard soldiers, during clashes with security forces on the Francisco Fajardo highway, outside La Carlota Air Base in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, June 23, 2017. More than 70 people have been killed during almost 90 days of protests seeking President Nicolas Maduro's removal. AP

The head of the Organization of American States on Saturday said he would step down from his post in exchange for a laundry list of reforms in Venezuela that he said would bring “freedom” to the embattled South American nation.

In a video posted on Twitter and the OAS website, Secretary General Luis Almagro continued his harsh denunciation of the socialist country and said international silence on the issue was dangerous.

“Silence allowed the rise of Hitler and the genocide in Rwanda,” he said.

The message comes as months of anti-government protests in Venezuela have left at least 75 dead. Most of those fatalities have come as protesters have clashed with security forces.

“I know that Venezuelans protesting with dignity on the streets is a nightmare for the regime that oppresses them and for those in the international community who prefer ‘peace’ brought by intimidation and the violation of the rights of the people,” he said.

Read More: Venezuela petitions for asylum triple amid chaos

Venezuela has long accused the OAS of being a Washington mouthpiece and earlier this year it began the process of withdrawing from the body, which includes every nation in the hemisphere but Cuba. But Caracas has also suggested it would stay in the OAS if Almagro would step aside.

On Saturday, Almagro said he would submit his resignation once Venezuela holds free and fair elections, releases political prisoners, allows humanitarian aid and restores the powers of the National Assembly. Those are essentially the same demands the protesters are making, and Almagro said they would represent “freedom” in Venezuela.

“Unfortunately, there are many things necessary to bring freedom to Venezuela,” he concluded. “I offer to resign in exchange for freedom in Venezuela...We will never resign until we have freedom in Venezuela.”

Follow Jim Wyss on Twitter @jimwyss

  Comments