OAS suspends Venezuela meetings after failing to reach agreement

June 1 (UPI) — The Organization of American States suspended a meeting in Washington D.C., after it did not agree whether to formally criticize President Nicolas Maduro‘s regime.

Representatives from 33 countries in the Western hemisphere attended the meeting on Wednesday at the OAS headquarters. Though most countries, including the United States and Mexico, agreed to formally criticize the Venezuelan regime in a declaration, talks were suspended after some of Maduro’s Caribbean allies opposed.

The OAS meeting comes after two months of protests — mostly anti-government demonstrations — in Venezuela that have led to about 60 deaths.

Venezuela did not attend the meeting. In April, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said her country would withdraw from the OAS, suggesting it is a puppet of the U.S. government, after the bloc decided to hold meetings over Venezuela’s crisis.

Venezuela will need to pay the OAS an outstanding $8.7 million before it can withdraw. The OAS charter states a country can separate two years after it announces its desire and reasons to withdraw.

“Our goal is to return to full respect for the rule of law, full respect for freedoms of political expression and participation,” the United States’ Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon said during Wednesday’s meeting in support of the declaration. “Today is an opportunity for us to demonstrate that this commitment remains alive and well-relevant to the current plight of our Venezuelan neighbors.”

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