EU & OAS to Meet on Venezuela in Washington
By Carlos Camacho
Latin American Herald Tribune
October 30, 2018
CARACAS -- The European Union and the Organization of American States are to meet “in Washington before year’s end” to discuss the Venezuelan crisis, top EU foreign policy and common security representative Federica Mogherini said Tuesday.
According to the United Nations, the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has resulted in 2.6 million Venezuelans fleeing over the last 36 months – including, according to a “National Geographic” spread published this week, hundreds of the Warao natives of Southern Venezuela -- in a series of developments that have been called the largest exodus in Western Hemisphere history.
Europa Press reported that Mogherini aims to “try and create the conditions for returning to a political process between the (Maduro) government and the opposition, making it clear that it is in no way a mediation and that (the EU) would seek to cooperate with countries in the region and international actors.”
Spain’s lawmaker before the EU, Beatriz Becerra, a vocal critic of Maduro, tweeted her satisfaction with Mogherini’s announcement, writing: “(She) “reassures me of the unwavering support of the (European Union) to (OAS and its Secretary General, Luis Almagro). We are ready to contribute to a regional solution for the crisis in Venezuela. Here the political dialogue does have a space. Before this year ends, in Washington."
The “political dialogue” seems to be a reference to Maduro’s failed efforts at landing a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump,, another vocal critic and one who has also advanced he is considering military options in dealing with the Venezuelan crisis.
Both the trade and political union and the regional organization are considered “hard line” when it comes to dealing with embattled Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro: OAS secretary general Luis Almagro has indicated he would allow for outside intervention in Venezuela while the EU has individually sanctioned 18 former and present officials with the Maduro government.
The OAS has been so critical of Venezuela after the 2017 demonstrations that the oil-rich nation initiated the process of quitting the regional organization, which takes two years to complete.
Mogherini said the sanctions approved by the 28 European and affiliate states against the Venezuelans, only a few months old, would not be lifted in the foreseeable future. The European Union also has a standing arms (and other police and military equipment) embargo against the Maduro administration.
Both the OAS and the Consultores 21 consultancy firm in Caracas say the UN’s 2.6 million migrants’ figure is conservative, publishing estimates that put the exodus at between 4 to 5.5 million Venezuelans fleeing the humanitarian crisis since 2013.
And, according to “National Geographic”, the exodus includes hundreds of Warao, the second largest native group in Venezuela. Living in and near the Orinoco river delta, the Warao never meddle in national politics. But as of late, their members have been trekking (and in some cases, canoeing) 500 miles, or more, to cross the border into Pacaraima and other Brazilian border towns, complaining about insufficient food and no medicine in the land they have called home since before the arrival of the Spaniards.