Today, Venezuela’s Supreme Court has effectively shut down the democratically-elected (and opposition-controlled) National Assembly. The ruling comes one day after the Organization of American States (OAS) held a special meeting to undertake a collective assessment on the erosion of democracy in Venezuela and its ongoing humanitarian crisis. During the OAS meeting held at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro called on the Venezuelan government to hold free and fair elections that comply with international standards. Further, Almagro called for the immediate release of all political prisoners and to return to the constitutional order under the rule of law.
“Less than 48 hours after the OAS special meeting was held to discuss dictatorial rule in Venezuela, the government has behaved unimaginably like a military dictatorship, sweeping away the separation of powers and revealing the brutal and arbitrary nature of the regime,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “The OAS must apply the democracy clause and suspend Venezuela’s membership in the OAS,” said Halvorssen.
In its Wednesday ruling, the government-controlled Supreme Court declared the National Assembly in “contempt of court” after it refused to remove three lawmakers from the state of Amazonas from office. Previously, the Supreme Court had insisted that the three lawmakers (who granted the opposition a numeric majority) were engaged in electoral fraud.
HRF recently welcomed a report published by Secretary General Almagro calling on member states to suspend Maduro’s Venezuela from the OAS for violating “every article in the Inter-American Democratic Charter.” HRF also celebrated Almagro’s commitment to steering the OAS back to its intended mission to “promote and consolidate representative democracy” in the Americas.
Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.
Contact: Prachi Vidwans, (212) 246-8486, [email protected].