Venezuela to quit Organisation of American States

Indo Asian News Service

Caracas, April 27 (IANS) Venezuela will withdraw from the Organisation of American States (OAS), according to the country's Foreign Minister, who announced the decision on national television.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told VTV state television on Wednesday that the country, which is facing huge civil unrest, would take the unprecedented step of leaving the OAS over what it sees as "attempts by foreign governments to interfere in its affairs by siding with the opposition in the latest wave of protests in the country".

She added that the government will formally announce its withdrawal from the group, and that she expects the process to take two years, CNN reported.

Rodriguez said this decision was carried out at Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's instructions to protect the country's "sovereignty", adding that Venezuela would not participate in future OAS events as they advocate for "interventionism".

Venezuela has long accused the OAS secretary-general, Luis Almagro, of being a leader in instigating a "coup" against the government of President Maduro.

This exit is not conjecture, it has to do with the dignity of our people, said Rodriguez.

The minister also compared the OAS' actions to the stance it took against Cuba in 1962, when it kicked the country out before reinstating it in 2009.

After her announcement, Rodriguez continued lambasting the OAS, tweeting that "we will never allow those who bend the knee to offend Venezuela! Our sacred nation! Nation of Bolivar! Fatherland of Chavez! We will win!"

The move comes as Venezuela experiences civil unrest. Protests, which have been ongoing for months, escalated in April and have resulted in dozens of deaths.

The unrest stems from dissatisfaction with the government, which has been accused of economic mismanagement resulting in huge shortages of daily essentials like food and medicine.

At least 29 persons have been killed in clashes between the government and opposition supporters since the unrest erupted at the beginning of April, according to reports.