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OAS Secretary General Reiterates that Dialogue is the Only Possibility for a Solution to the Situation in Venezuela

  March 5, 2014

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today reiterated his position in favor of the promotion of dialogue between the government and the opposition in Venezuela, as the key to unlock the situation in the South American country. In a conversation about the current hemispheric context held in the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the OAS Secretary General insisted that "the only solution is dialogue, because no one will win with the current situation," referring to the climate of political polarization that pervades Venezuelan society.

In its initial approach and in his responses, Insulza said the OAS and other multilateral agencies can help to restore the dialogue in Venezuela, and he explained that the hemispheric organization bases its work entirely on the promotion of peace and dialogue between parties when countries in the region go through conflict situations. In this context, he welcomed the convocation of a Permanent Council for tomorrow to discuss the situation of the South American country that concerns all member states, while he also expressed his reservations as to the delay in holding that meeting and the fact that it will be private. "This meeting should have been called several days ago, because the situation that exists in Venezuela so requires," added the leader of the institution.

He explained that the private nature of the Permanent Council’s meeting called for tomorrow to discuss the situation in Venezuela was decided by the Chairman of that body, in accordance with his established powers, but he also expressed satisfaction that the meeting will finally take place. Insulza admitted the responsibility of the regional organization to accommodate the analysis of Venezuelan events and to support all efforts aimed at bringing both parties closer. In this regard, Insulza is in favor of sending an emissary to work along this line, and he explained that this person "must be someone that both parties trust," but what will not help, he said, "is to favor one of the two sides" of the conflict.

When analyzing the situation in the South American country, the head of the hemispheric organization said that "from an objective standpoint, we can say that Venezuela is a highly divided society, with massive support for both parties." Secondly, the Secretary General stated that Venezuela faces "serious economic and social issues," among which he mentioned the high rate of inflation, the decline in oil production, and the shortage of consumer goods. Thirdly, he noted that it is necessary to recognize that there is a "real, strong and mobilized opposition," which is made up of different sectors of society.

Secretary General Insulza said the OAS has the capacity to try to “restore” the situation of conflict in Venezuela, but he explained that “it cannot intervene” in the South American country without the request or acceptance of the country concerned. He noted that the OAS does not act upon the request of individuals, but member states; “these are the rules of the game,” he said. He added that the only case in which individuals can go to the OAS is before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH),” other than that, the OAS can only act at the request of member states,” Secretary Insulza reiterated.

Insulza also expressed concern for the deaths and other human rights violations that are occurring in Venezuela and asserted that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous organ of the OAS, must render an opinion, and has done so, in this regard.

For his part, Carl Meacham, Director for CSIS Americas Program and Moderator of the talk given by Secretary General Insulza, expressed his concern that the situation in Venezuela may cause a contagion effect in the region.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-077/14