US and top OAS members start push to suspend Venezuela

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during his second-term sworn in ceremony, at the Congress in Caracas on May 24, 2018. (AFP)

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States and six more of the most influential countries in the Organisation of American States called Monday for the launch of proceedings to suspend Venezuela from the body.

Washington was joined by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru in urging that President Nicolas Maduro’s Caracas government be punished for what they see as his assault on democracy.

A draft resolution, presented on the first day of the 48th annual meeting of the OAS, calls on members not to recognise the results of last month’s “unconstitutional” Venezuelan election.

It further urges the body to use “the mechanisms for the preservation and defence of representative democracy” contained in the Inter-American Democratic Charter — a first step towards suspension.

Under Article 21 of this Charter, an extraordinary general assembly of OAS member states can suspend a country from the body, the main forum for western hemisphere countries to develop shared democratic norms.

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