Venezuelans in Miami bestowed Secretary-General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro with an award Thursday, despite him being criticized for undermining the South American country's sovereignty by pushing for foreign intervention.
On Thursday, VPPEX, an acronym in Spanish for "Politically Persecuted Venezuelans in Exile," gave Almagro the so-called "Exile Order" award.
"The Democratic Charter gives Venezuelans the right to live in a democracy," Almagro said as he addressed the award ceremony in Doral, Florida.
Last week, Almagro said the OAS cannot remain neutral in regards to the events happening in the hemisphere, saying the organization must defend its "values" and "principles."
"Each one of us has to raise our voices to what is happening in Venezuela," he said.
The OAS chief also praised the fact that the right-wing opposition won a majority in the National Assembly. "Despite the hope of winning the Assembly in 2015, the conditions in Venezuela have worsened," he said.
Almagro is looking to invoke the OAS’s so-called “Democratic Charter” against Venezuela, which would trigger the suspension of the country from the bloc.
Despite ongoing right-wing protests that have resulted in the death of at least five people so far in Venezuela, Almagro has remained silent in his criticism of the opposition.
The OAS head has attracted criticism over the past year for remaining fixated on Venezuela while turning a blind eye to the parliamentary coup in Brazil, the crackdown on civil society in Argentina and state violations linked to the war on drugs in Mexico.
Just this week, Bolivian President Evo Morales blasted Almagro, accusing him of inciting violence and promoting intervention in Venezuela by continuing to launch attacks on Caracas.
“Luis Almagro is responsible for the violence in Venezuela and he will be responsible for intervention,” Morales wrote on his Twitter account.