Minister of the State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Pearnel Charles Jr. has sought to clarify a story published in the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday June 6 titled:“Jamaica supports suspending Venezuela from the Organization of American States (OAS).”
Minister Charles explained that the Observer Story is inaccurate and needs clarification. He affirmed that, “At no point was any resolution tabled to expel any member from the OAS. Jamaica openly called for dialogue and not the immediate suspension of Venezuela.” Jamaica has consistently called for a peaceful resolution of the political crisis in Venezuela and has always seen the OAS as one of the key mechanisms through which to facilitate diplomatic dialogue to resolve the situation.
The State Minister asserted that Jamaica voted responsibly for a resolution, whereby a series of diplomatic initiatives are to be undertaken as stipulated in Article 20 of the OAS Democratic Charter, before any consideration of invocation of Article 21. These include the utilization of good offices and continued discussions in the Permanent Council as well as the convocation of a Special General Assembly to determine the status of democratic order in that country.
The State Minister indicated that Jamaica shares concerns about the adherence to democratic principles and notes that international reports have brought attention to the critical humanitarian needs of the people in Venezuela. He advised the Assembly that, “it is our hope that in the spirit of brotherhood, an opportunity will be provided for OAS member states to make a contribution to meet these needs.”
Minister Charles also confirmed Jamaica’s readiness to facilitate renewed dialogue, “to alleviate the serious challenges facing Venezuela at this juncture, we continue to hold the view that any move to suspend Venezuela would at this stage be premature.”
Facts: There are three elements to the process and procedures in the OAS that are immediately relevant:
1. No country can be suspended from OAS Membership without due process;
2. This OAS Resolution speaks only to the “ Resolution on the Situation in Venezuela” and does NOT call for suspension and there would need to be another meeting of the General Assembly to address such an issue as allowed for in Articles 20 and 21 of the Inter- American Democratic Charter;
3. There would need to be a two-thirds majority vote of all Members for the suspension of any Member States.