Cancun, Mexico. With a nation on fire and protestors in the streets, Venezuela’s leaders have responded by challenging the United States “to send in the Marines.” Venezuela laughed at the Trump Administration Tuesday for trying to forge a regional plan to address its raging crisis, saying the only way to make it comply was to “send in the Marines.”
The Organization of American States meeting being held in the Mexican resort of Cancun once again narrowly failed to approve a resolution that would have pushed back against some of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s most radical actions.
“The contact group you’re proposing is completely useless and unnecessary,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez fumed at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico.
“The only way you could impose it would be to send in your Marines — who would meet with a crushing response from Venezuela if they dared make such a misstep.” The outburst came as US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan tried to rally support for an OAS resolution to send regional mediators to Venezuela, where running street battles at anti-government protests have left 74 people dead since April.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez then stormed out of the meeting, and claimed that more OAS members who she didn’t name were considering following Venezuela’s example and withdrawing from the Washington-based group, which has been putting pressure on her socialist government to hold timely elections, free political prisoners and scrap a bid to rewrite its constitution.
Sullivan responded to Rodriguez who called him the boss, with a three-word rebuttal: “Distractions, distortions and irrelevancies.” The tense exchange came a day after OAS foreign ministers, divided between allies and critics of Caracas, failed to agree on a joint response to the Venezuelan crisis.
The draft resolution backed by the United States fell three votes shy of the 23 it needed to be adopted by the 34-nation group.
Sullivan is now pushing to take the matter up in the OAS General Assembly, which is also convening in Cancun this week, and where the vote threshold is lower: a simple majority of 18 votes.
Venezuela has struggled with an imploding economy, rampaging inflation and chronic shortages of food and basic consumer goods. Maduro has accused his opponents of sabotaging the country through a Soros financed color revolution.