MIAMI – OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said on Monday that sanctions against Venezuela should be tougher and more widespread to make sure the country gets back on the path of democracy, but more internal pressure is also needed and that will require a stronger Venezuelan opposition.
That was Almagro’s response to a question asked to him at the 2017 Latin American Summit organized by Florida Gov. Rick Scott and attended by representatives of the US and Latin American public and private sectors.
In the opinion of the OAS chief, the sanctions must include the totality of the Venezuelan regime, which “has completely abandoned the rule of law.”
Almagro presented a detailed view of what he called the collapse of Venezuela and of democracy in that country, and of the desperate consequences it inflicts on the daily life of its citizens.
He noted that the process of Venezuela’s departure from the OAS “has not yet begun,” because of the disagreement between the permanent mission of the OAS and leaders of the Venezuelan National Assembly about the application of the Inter-American Charter.
As for former Attorney General Luisa Ortega, he said he has spoken with her, but for now “no decision has been taken” about her possible collaboration, though she could make a valuable contribution to the cases under study of human rights violations by the Nicolas Maduro regime.
Opposition leader Carlos Vecchio, also at the meeting, agreed with Almagro that multilateral sanctions have been seen to work, as in the case of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
In a statement to reporters after Almagro’s speech, Vecchio said that the US sanctions against officials in the Maduro government are not enough by themselves.
“We need multilateral sanctions, with the European Union joining in,” he said.