US urges OAS to suspend Venezuela, impose new sanctions

 Washington, May 8: The US has urged the Organisation of American States (OAS) to suspend Venezuela from its ranks and impose new sanctions on alleged drug traffickers linked with the Nicolas Maduro government in Caracas. ”We call on the members of this institution to uphold our long-standing commitment to democracy and freedom … (and) to suspend Venezuela from the Organization of American States,” Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday in an address before the international body’s Permanent Council. The Venezuelan government on April 28 requested to leave the OAS amid complaints within the international body over its ongoing political and social crisis, but its departure will not become effective for two years, reports Efe news. Despite the political weight carried by the US call to suspend Venezuela, for the moment there is not enough support within the organization to take that step. Doing so requires the support of two-thirds of the 35 OAS members or 24 states. On Monday, the Venezuelan delegation walked out of the session held to welcome Pence to the OAS. Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister for North America Samuel Moncada said that his delegation was not present because they consider the gathering to be “farce” and a “monstrosity” and complained that there was no opportunity afforded to reply to Pence’s comments. IANS