Three Suggestions for an OAS Venezuela Resolution

A consensus resolution regarding Venezuela from the OAS General Assembly would mainly be symbolic. But symbols are important. Such a resolution could define the situation in such a way that motivates countries of the region to act, makes the Maduro government more likely to collaborate, and strengthens the resolve of those democratic government officials who might sympathize with the independence shown by Attorney General Luisa Ortega.

However, the following points should be taken into consideration when formulating and debating a resolution.

  • A resolution that does not demand or at least encourage a roll back of the Constituent Assembly is not worth passing. Everybody wants an end to the violence and a legitimate electoral calendar. But a Constituent Assembly will make these points moot as the government will have “powers of origin” and will be able to close or override other branches of government. They will also likely reorganize the state, doing away with state governments and making irrelevant the regional elections scheduled for December.
  • Any encouragement of dialogue should carry the term “negotiation” because otherwise the government will use it to promote the same sham discussion tables they organized in 2016 and 2014.
  • It is not worth trying to form a “contact group” or “group of friends” from the OAS since it will be automatically rejected by Venezuela. In fact, having the OAS put forward such a proposal could undermine similar proposals that might emerge outside of the OAS in a relevant time frame. A firm, consensus resolution is enough because it would provide a good push for the formation of such a group, without the OAS being the promotor.