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Resolution on Crisis in Venezuela - US OAS Remarks

Resolution on Crisis in Venezuela

Ambassador Roger F. Noriega, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS Remarks to Meeting of the Permanent Council Washington, DC December 16, 2002

Venezuela is confronting a deteriorating economic situation, unrelenting, polarizing rhetoric, and planning on both sides for new mass marches in Caracas later this week. In recent weeks, we have witnessed the shooting of peaceful demonstrators, resulting in three dead and dozens wounded. We have also seen coordinated efforts to attack and intimidate the media. These developments make our Secretary General s efforts more urgent than ever.

Above all, this resolution supports the Secretary General s efforts, unequivocally and energetically.

We also urge the two sides the government and the democratic opposition to negotiate in good faith to reach a peaceful, democratic, constitutional and electoral solution.

This resolution strongly defends the free exercise of all the essential elements of democracy many of which have come under fire in Venezuela in recent weeks. It calls on all sectors to respect the principles of our Inter-American Democratic Charter, and it expresses our determination to continue applying the Democratic Charter as appropriate.

My delegation contends that governments have a singular, inescapable role in applying the rule of law and guaranteeing the free exercise of fundamental freedoms. We urge the government of Venezuela to do so.

Of course, this resolution appropriately rejects a coup d etat or any other unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order.

Mr. Chairman, this is a time for all Venezuelans to act to defuse tension and seek a constructive solution to the ongoing unrest and violence. For example, all of Venezuela s civilian, democratic institutions the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, the Defender of the People, and the Executive must act to overcome Venezuela s current crisis.

Moreover, we ask that Venezuelans study other recent examples in the Western Hemisphere in which political crises have been resolved by leaders and their political opponents who have chosen to act peacefully and constructively. [End]

Released on December 16, 2002

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