- Title: Venezuela top opposition leader asks OAS to reconvene, slams Zapatero-led talks
- Date: 31st March 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C. (MARCH 31, 2017) (REUTERS) **** WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **** VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER AND MIRANDA STATE GOVERNOR, HENRIQUE CAPRILES, AT NEWS CONFERENCE AT ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HENRIQUE CAPRILES, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER, SAYING: "(Invoking) The InterAmerican Democratic Charter is not interference in a country's internal affairs. The Democratic Charter signed by the countries that make up the OAS has several steps and the last of those steps would be to suspend a country when within that country there has been a breakdown of constitutional order, there has been no restitution of constitutional order, when there's a government that is rebellious, that is on the sidelines of the constitution, that does not want to respect the people nor the law, then the OAS takes action up to that point (suspension)." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HENRIQUE CAPRILES, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER, SAYING: "We demand the Venezuelan government restore the constitutional state that the (Supreme Court) decision be annulled and constitutional order be restored regarding the National Assembly's powers. Additionally, other relevant matters: the electoral schedule, election dates, a humanitarian channel for food and medicine and the liberation of political prisoners." WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HENRIQUE CAPRILES, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER, SAYING: "Delay cannot be an option. To take a long time cannot be an option. We do not have a long time. Believe what I am telling you: we do not have much time. The country is not in a position to create a tripartite once again as we did in 2014 with three foreign ministers. I think the Vatican, of course, is a very important, good faith actor that we do not want to lose. However, with a mediation authority or group of friends like the one that was led by (former Spanish Prime Minister) ex-President (Jose Luis Rodriguez) Zapatero, we won't get anywhere. If you see Rodriguez Zapatero's statements where he says we must look at the court's decision cautiously, with prudence, you will understand. The only thing missing is for him to say we need to support the court's decision. That is unacceptable. As a Venezuelan, I am offended when I read statements like that. I am not saying this to exaggerate. I invite you to come to my country. My country is in an extremely difficult situation. When you see people eating out of the garbage. I am not apathetic, indifferent, when faced with a situation like that." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HENRIQUE CAPRILES, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER, SAYING: "If they shut down Congress in your country, what do you call that? Coup d'etat. There was a coup d'etat in my country. We are asking for constitutional order to be restored. That the National Assembly, that was shut down, it was stripped of all of its powers, have the constitutional order restored, and for the Assembly to have full exercise of the powers it is granted in the constitution. Along with that, what do we ask the OAS, UNASUR, Mercosur, the United Nations? We want to hold elections. You know I'm a governor. Gubernatorial elections had to have been held in December. The recall referendum had to have been held last year and they stole it. Mayoral elections have not been called. Presidential elections have not been called. That does not happen in any of your countries. This lends credence to the rupture of constitutional order because in democracies, people express their will by voting." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HENRIQUE CAPRILES, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER, SAYING: "Mercosur has also been clear, firm regarding the established clauses in Mercosur. What do we expect from Mercosur? The same thing we expect from the OAS." WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 14th April 2017 20:18
- Keywords: Capriles Zapatero National Assembly Supreme Court OAS
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., USA
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., USA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016AALJK3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Venezuela's top opposition leader Henrique Capriles met with the head of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. on Friday (March 31) to ask the body to reconvene and invoke the InterAmerican Democratic Charter on Venezuela after the Supreme Court ruled it would take over the functions of the opposition-led Congress.
Capriles said the failure of President Nicolas Maduro to convene elections, its refusal to allow the recall referendum to proceed, its imprisonment of opposition leaders and the economic and social crisis which has crashed the economy support his argument that constitutional order has been broken.
Earlier in the week, OAS head Luis Almagro called an extraordinary meeting of the 34-member body in which it failed to suspend the OPEC nation, with 20 nations instead calling for political dialogue.
Capriles said that while he appreciates the Vatican's mediation efforts, previous attempts to negotiate through dialogue, such as those led by former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero-- who said the court decision was "one more element" in the conflict and called for "prudence, discretion and patience" in dealing with the crisis-- were unacceptable and amounted to delays as Venezuelans faced dire need.
Capriles, who lost the 2013 presidential election to Maduro by 1.5 percent, said that a suspension by the OAS could lead future Venezuelan presidents to refuse to honour any foreign economic deals that Maduro might negotiate which are signed off by the Supreme Court without the constitutionally-required Congressional approval.
The Supreme Court's decision has been blasted by foreign leaders as regional body Mercosur called an extraordinary meeting on Saturday (April 1) over Venezuela.
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