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Venezuela to Quit OAS, Comes under EU Pressure | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riot police officers clash with opposition supporters during a rally in Caracas. AFP

Venezuela has said it was quitting the Organization of American States, deepening the diplomatic isolation of the socialist-run nation, which has come under pressure from the bloc over the government’s handling of a violent political crisis.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said Wednesday the government would launch a two-year process to pull out of the Washington-based regional diplomatic grouping.

“Tomorrow, as President Nicolas Maduro has instructed, we will present a letter of complaint to the OAS and we will begin a process that will take 24 months,” she said in a televised address.

The OAS has voiced concern about the state of democracy in Venezuela, where President Nicolas Maduro, a protege of late leader Hugo Chavez, is resisting opposition pressure to remove him from office.

OAS chief Luis Almagro has said Venezuela should be suspended if it does not hold general elections “as quickly as

Venezuela also came under pressure from the European Union on Thursday.

EU lawmakers overwhelmingly condemned “brutal repression” in the country after anti-government unrest left 28 people dead this month.

In a resolution, the European Parliament said it “strongly condemns the brutal repression exercised by the Venezuelan security forces, as well as irregular armed groups, against the peaceful protests”.

MEPs also urged the Venezuelan government to investigate all the deaths and bring those responsible to justice, as well as guaranteeing the right to peaceful further protests.

The resolution was approved by 450 votes to 35 with 100 abstentions, and backed by all the major political groups in the EU parliament.

Maduro’s adversaries accuse him of delaying elections to avoid suffering ballot-box defeats, disregarding the country’s opposition-led Congress and overseeing an economic crisis that has left the many in the country unable to eat properly.