In what will be seen as a sharp deterioration of relations with Venezuela, Guyana yesteday voted with the majority of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) “to not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s new term as of the 10th of January of 2019.”
The resolution was approved with 19 votes in favour, 6 against, 8 abstentions and one absent.
The vote widened divisions in CARICOM over Venezuela. According to the website of the US OAS mission, while Guyana and Jamaica voted not to recognize Maduro’s controversial new term, Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname voted against the resolution. Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda abstained.
The full vote from the US OAS mission page is as follows:
The resolution was approved with 19 votes in favor (Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, United States, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Saint Lucia); 6 against (Bolivia, Dominica, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Venezuela); 8 abstentions (Mexico, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, and El Salvador); and one absent (Grenada).
Georgetown is yet to issue a statement explaining its vote which will be seen as the strongest stand taken at the OAS against Venezuela in recent years. It comes in the aftermath of a Venezuelan incursion into Guyana’s waters that has been seen as a direct threat to the broad oil exploration and development works being undertaken by ExxonMobil in Guyana’s waters.
Following is the complete text of the resolution from the OAS website:
RESOLUTION ON THE SITUATION IN VENEZUELA
(Adopted by the Permanent Council at its special meeting held on January 10, 2019)
THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES,
REAFFIRMING the right of the peoples of the Americas to democracy and the obligation of their governments to promote and defend it as reflected in Article 1 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter,
RECALLING that, through resolution AG/RES. 2929 (XLVIII-O/18) of June 5, 2018, the General Assembly declared that the May 20, 2018 electoral process in Venezuela lacked legitimacy for not having met the participation of all Venezuelan political actors, its failure to comply with international standards, and for being carried out without the necessary guarantees for a free, fair, transparent, and democratic process,
CONSIDERING that the 2019-2025 presidential period beginning in Venezuela on the 10th of January of 2019 is the result of an illegitimate electoral process,
UNDERSCORING the constitutional authority of the democratically elected National Assembly.
REITEREITING ITS DEEP CONCERN about the worsening political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela resulting from the breakdown of democratic order and serious human rights violations in that state, and the government of Venezuela’s negligence to meet the fundamental Inter-American standards of human rights and democracy;
RECOGNIZING that, as a consequence, a significant number of Venezuelans are being forced to flee the country because their basic needs have not been met.
REITEREITING its serious concern about the collapse of Venezuela’s health-care system, which has led to a reemergence of previously eradicated infectious diseases across Venezuela and into neighboring countries and the wider region.
NOTING that the exodus of Venezuelans is having an impact on the capacity of countries in the region to meet their humanitarian needs and poses challenges to public health and security.
TAKING NOTE, in this regard, of the Quito Declaration on the human mobility of Venezuelan citizens in the region, of September 4th 2018, and its Plan of Action adopted on November 23rd 2018.
CONDEMNING in the strongest terms the arbitrary detentions, lack of due process and the violation of other human rights of political prisoners by the Government of Venezuela.
UNDERSCORING that the Permanent Council and the Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers remain ready to engage in diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, aimed at promoting dialogue in Venezuela, with a view to arriving at a political solution to the crisis in that country.
To not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s new term as of the 10th of January of 2019.
To reaffirm that only through a national dialogue with the participation of all Venezuelan political actors and stakeholders can national reconciliation be achieved and the necessary conditions agreed upon for holding a new electoral process that truly reflects the will of the Venezuelan citizens and peacefully resolves the current crisis in that country.
To urge all Members States and invite Permanent Observers of the OAS to adopt, in accordance with international law and their national legislation, diplomatic, political, economic and financial measures that they consider appropriate, to contribute to the prompt restoration of the democratic order of Venezuela.
To call for new Presidential elections with all necessary guarantees of a free, fair, transparent, and legitimate process to be held at an early date attended by international observers.
To invite Member States and Permanent Observers to implement measures to address the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and impacted countries, through the support to appropriate international and regional organizations.
To urge the Venezuelan regime to allow the immediate entry of humanitarian aid to the people in Venezuela, including epidemiological surveillance, to prevent the aggravation of the humanitarian and public health crisis, particularly against the reappearance and propagation of diseases.
To demand the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.
To express the Organization’s ongoing solidarity with the Venezuelan people and its commitment to remain seized of the situation in Venezuela and to support diplomatic measures that facilitate the restoration of democratic institutions and the full respect for human rights.
To instruct the Secretary General to transmit the text of this resolution to the Secretary General of the United Nations.