Bolivian President Evo Morales blasted the head of the Organization of American States once again on Wednesday, accusing Luis Almagro of inciting violence and promoting intervention in Venezuela by continuing to launch attacks on Caracas while ignoring increasingly violent acts carried out by the country’s right-wing opposition.
“Luis Almagro is responsible for the violence in Venezuela and he will be responsible for intervention,” Morales wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday.
“In Venezuela, violent groups seek a coup d’etat,” the Bolivian president continued. “Luis Almagro doesn’t repudiate them, rather he encourages them.”
The comments come as heated political disputes in Venezuela continue to flare with opposition protesters repeatedly taking to the streets in recent days against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. The political clashes have only deepened deepened Caracas’ tension with Almagro and the OAS over insistent efforts to invoke the body’s so-called “Democratic Charter” against the South American country, which would trigger its suspension from the bloc.
Almagro has been quick to accuse Maduro’s government of “authoritarian lawlessness” and “abandon(ing) democracy through a self-imposed coup d’etat,” even though the Supreme Court decision that sparked the latest wave of anti-government protests was overturned within days. He has also targeted the government for allegedly repressing what he has described as pro-democracy demonstrations, while remaining silent on attacks carried out by the protesters and violence-inciting rhetoric of right-wing opposition leaders.
The OAS chief released a four-minute video message on social media Tuesday slamming the Maduro government while painting the opposition protesters, which have repeatedly turned to violence, as peaceful demonstrators.
“Day after day, repression is increasing in Venezuela. It’s authoritarian to repress demonstrators demanding democracy,” he said, highlighting security forces’ use of tear gas during the protests. “Despite these abuses and attacks, the Venezuelan people have showed their moral high ground and ability to strengthen themselves in the face of adversity.”
Almagro went on to call for general elections in Venezuela as the only solution out of the political crisis — a position not even Washington has expressed — without mentioning opposition violence. He repeatedly criticized Caracas as undemocratic, accusing the Maduro government of wishing to “sacrifice” Venezuelan people in order to “stay in power.”
Venezuela’s Ministry of Defense called on Almagro and the OAS Tuesday to condemn acts of violence, such as reports from Venezuela’s Ombudsman that seven of its offices had been attacked in the anti-government protests. The call has not been answered, which Almagro’s critics say further lays bare the hypocrisy of setting his sights on the Maduro government while turning a blind eye to other concerning human rights situations both in Venezuela and across Latin America.
Almagro’s positions have drawn criticism from Venezuela and its allies in the region, which have accused him of serving the whims of U.S. imperialism in Latin America by promoting intervention in Venezuela.
Evo Morales has been among Maduro’s vocal supporters. He has recently and repeatedly called out Almagro on his Twitter account, pointing out how the OAS chief’s focus on Venezuela is disproportionate in light of other serious political and human rights issues in the region that the regional body has not responded to.
“Luis Almagro does not condemn walls against Latinos, nor the judicial coup against Dilma Rousseff, nor the increase in drug trafficking in Colombia. Is he complicit?” wrote Morales in his Twitter account on April 1.
“The OAS should be a body of integration and not intervention,” he added. “Sovereignty and dignity of every is respected and defended.”