The government of Nicolas Maduro runs the risk of being repudiated by the OAS, and in the case of Daniel Ortega, is on the verge of the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
Por Judith Flores (La Prensa)
HAVANA TIMES – The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) will meet this week to address the situation of the dictatorships in Venezuela and Nicaragua.
In the first case, the government of Nicolas Maduro runs the risk of being repudiated by the OAS, and in the case of Daniel Ortega, is on the verge of the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
The director of the Inter-American Institute for Democracy (IID), based in Miami, Beatrice Rangel, believes that the current situation in the region and the forceful report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) on crimes against humanity committed by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo could allow the sponsors in the OAS to obtain the 24 votes needed to approve the Charter.
In this vote, the 15 countries that make up the Caribbean Community (Caricom) would have an important weight, which will also be very important in the case of Venezuela.
The session of Venezuela will be on January 10th and the session of Nicaragua on the 11th. The process for the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter began on December 27 after the announcement of the secretary general of the regional body, Luis Almagro, and experts consider three essential factors which should be considered.
For Rangel, these factors are: 1. That between the Caribbean islands (Caricom) and Nicaragua there is no State interest that unites them. 2. The conflict over the territory of Essequibo (rich in oil) between Venezuela and Guyana. 3. That the international community is mobilized on the subject of Venezuela.
In the case of the territorial conflict, Caricom has closed ranks in favor of Guyana, despite the fact that 13 of the 15 countries, including Guyana, are part of the Petrocaribe energy agreement, founded in 2004; and 7 of the 15 are members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (Alba), created in 2004. Both alliances were founded by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Guyana has voted in favor of the OAS resolutions on the subject of Nicaragua. Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are the two countries that are not involved with Venezuela, but so far, they have abstained from voting in favor of resolutions on the subject of Nicaragua.
The situation of Venezuela
The third factor that Rangel points out is that the international community has mobilized to repudiate the new presidential term of Nicolas Maduro, which begins on January 10. These are the United States, the European Union and the Lima Group, made up of 14 countries in the Americas.
On that third factor, Manuel Salvador Abaunza, former ambassador of Nicaragua in Venezuela, assured that from January 10 there will be changes in the panorama, because the regime of Nicolas Maduro will have lost legitimacy.
“It is very certain that the Caribbean countries will see that they have no future of any kind with Maduro and that it is better for them to start negotiating with the United States, or at least show a change of attitude, because Maduro no longer offers them anything by becoming a De-legitimized state,” he explained.
Based on his diplomatic experience, Abaunza believes that there are already negotiations to obtain the 24 required votes.
A three-way negotiation?
“Negotiations between Almagro, the United States and Caricom may already be taking place, a position that is reinforced with the Lima Group, to not recognize the legitimacy of Maduro, that would be reinforced by the OAS, because you only need the simple majority, 18 votes to ignore (the Maduro government). There is simply no future (with Venezuela). This suggests that we already have the 24 votes” calculated the former diplomat.
Rangel believes that for these three factors the Caribbean could lean in favor of applying the Democratic Charter, taking into account that “the international community agrees that in Nicaragua a dictatorship governs, which is outside the Democratic Charter and that there is a report about serious violations of human rights. ”
The Democratic Charter is the legal instrument, created in 2001, to preserve democratic institutions in America. Its Article 20 establishes that the Secretary General or any member state of the OAS can request the immediate convocation of the Permanent Council, when a member country has an alteration of the constitutional order that seriously affects its democratic order.
Rangel, former Minister of the Presidency of Venezuela during the second government of former President Carlos Andres Perez, explained that in the case of Nicaragua, the OAS can achieve the votes because the necessary reports exist.
He mentions the case of the report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), which establishes that crimes against humanity have been committed in Nicaragua, the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the creation of the OAS Working Group for Nicaragua.
The latter has submitted three reports to the Permanent Council of the OAS, on the repression and lack of will of the Ortega regime to find a way out of the crisis, which began on April 18, 2018 due to the repression of the dictatorship.
“There is a report of terrible violations of rights. Nicaragua is a country that offers nothing to the Caribbean countries, why are they going to go out on a limb for Ortega? This referring to those countries that have abstained because Venezuela has put pressure on them,” said the analyst.
The Venezuelan Efforts to Defuse
“There are two scenarios that can happen. Firstly, that all these factors lead to the general secretary (of the OAS) gathering the votes for the approval of the Democratic Charter. But secondly, it can also happen that they do not gather the votes because Venezuela decides to make an under the table agreement with Caricom,” said Rangel.
For the analyst, Venezuela still has a card under its sleeve to play -which is Guyana- and that is to offer the Caribbean that they will settle the conflict with Guyana below the table. “If Venezuela does that, it will keep the cohesion of the Caribbean behind it,” he added.
If that scenario occurs, according to the expert, Venezuela could get Caricom to vote against both the Nicaraguan resolution and one against Venezuelan.
“Between a rock and a precipice”
“Venezuela is between a rock and a precipice. If the Government of Venezuela reacts violently against Guyana, it loses the Caribbean, because (those countries) back Guyana, for the price that Guyana could pay for defense when it starts to extract oil (from the territory of the Essequibo conflict). If Venezuela does not react, Guyana will take away the territory and the little support left for the Venezuelan regime. (Hugo) Chávez turned a blind eye to the claim of the Essequibo, at the request of Cuba, with the consequences that it has now because Guyana does have a government, not Venezuela,” he said.
Abaunza maintains that the Venezuelan verbal on Guyana in recent weeks could indicate that there will be no agreement because Caricom has reiterated its support for Guyana.
The conflict has escalated, after the Venezuelan Navy intercepted at the end of December a ship that explored oil on the continental shelf of Guyana, hired by Exxon Mobil. Guyana denounced Venezuela’s violation of its sovereignty.
Again the OAS Permanent Council
The Permanent Council will address the issue of Nicaragua, on January 11th, and it is hoped that the Foreign Ministers Assembly will be convened, where the Democratic Charter for Nicaragua could be approved.
A day prior, that body will meet to address the issue of Venezuela and it is expected that the regime of Nicolás Maduro, one of the few allies left to Daniel Ortega in the world, will no longer be recognized as legitimate.
Faced with the evidence of human rights violations perpetrated by the Nicaraguan dictatorship, the regime has defended itself saying that they were victims of a coup d’état. However, the reports of human rights organizations assure that this was not the case and that, on the other hand, there were serious violations of human rights and the commission of crimes against humanity against the population.