By Senabri Silvestre
SANTO DOMINGO, Dom. Rep. (AA) - The Dominican Republic is set to host the annual General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) at a time the regional bloc is facing criticism for its intervention in the region.
The head of the group, Luis Almagro, invoked the organization’s Democratic Charter last month to analyze "the alteration of the democratic order" of Venezuela.
It move frees Almagro the to seek a consensus opinion about the political situation in Venezuela and take action that could include suspending the South American country from the group.
But the motion has been met with a lot of resistance from members that have expressed support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Nicaragua said the move amounts to interference while Colombia believes Venezuela should be allowed to solve its own problems. Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Argentina support dialogue initiatives.
Caribbean states voiced support last weekend for political dialogue between opposition lawmakers and the Venezuelan government during a meeting of the Seventh Summit of the Association of Caribbean States held in Cuba.
At the end of the summit, while voicing support for Maduro, Cuban President Raul Castro promised that the Caribbean island would never return to the Washington, DC-based OAS, following its suspension in 1962. Member states voted in 2009 to lift the suspension.
“First the southern sea would join the northern sea and a serpent would be born from the eagle's egg," before Cuba would consider joining the organization, according to Castro.
Almagro scheduled an emergency meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS for June 10 - 20 to consider allegations "of constitutional order alteration" made by the National Assembly of Venezuela -- the opposition majority.
The dates overlap with the OAS meeting to be held June 13 -15 in the Dominican Republic's capital, Santo Domingo, in which 20 foreign ministers and representatives from 34 of the group’s 35 nations are expected to attend.
The motion against Venezuela is not yet included on the official agenda for the meeting, Dominican Republic’s Foreign Minister Andres Navarro said Wednesday.
Almagro has said, however, that discussions will take place in the assembly.
“Like it or not, the issue will be part of the agenda of the assembly, at least in the informal,” he told the EFE news agency.
Almagro will have an uphill climb in the Dominican Republic where the reputation of the OAS is viewed as skeptical since the group approved what many see as an illegal U.S. armed intervention in 1965 that killed hundreds.
Critics have demanded the bloc officially apologize for “the error” to suppress a coup that the American government thought could’ve lead to regional instability after the takeover of the Cuban government by Fidel Castro just a few years earlier.
The meeting in Santo Domingo will focus on strengthening ties for overall development in the region. High on the agenda will be addressing the Argentina’s long-running dispute with the U.K. concerning the Falkland Islands.