Venezuela quitting OAS in anger at pressure over political crisis

Our Foreign Staff
Emergency personnel try to extinguish a burning truck during a demonstration against the Venezuelan government in Caracas - EFE

Venezuela said on Wednesday it was quitting the Organisation of American States in anger at pressure from the bloc over the government's handling of the country's political crisis.

"Tomorrow we will present a letter of complaint to the OAS and we will begin a process that will take 24 months" to pull Venezuela out of the Washington-based regional diplomatic grouping, Delcy Rodriguez, the foreign minister, said in a televised address.

The decision had been expected. It came a short while after envoys to the OAS approved a resolution convening a special meeting of regional foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela's crisis.

Ms Rodriguez said president Nicholas Maduro's administration has been forced to counter what it sees as an attempt by the OAS and conservative regional governments to topple him. 

The death toll from this month's anti-government unrest hit at least 29 on Wednesday after a 20-year-old male demonstrator died after being hit by a gas canister in Caracas.

The wave of protests have sparked Venezuela's worst violence since 2014. Demonstrators want elections to end the socialists' two-decade rule, but the South American nation's brutal economic crisis is also fuelling anger.

Mr Maduro claims his foes are seeking a violent coup, with US connivance, like a short-lived 2002 putsch against his predecessor Hugo Chavez.

At a glance | President Maduro

 

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