Venezuela’s representative to the Organization of American States stormed out of a session of the 34-nation bloc on Monday, calling the meeting a “coup d’etat,” as regional pressure grew for President Nicolas Maduro to fully restore democratic rule in the country.
The meeting of the OAS Permanent Council was called at the weekend by 20 countries, including the United States, concerned about democratic erosion in Venezuela under Maduro.
In a controversial move last week, Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that it was assuming functions of the opposition-led National Assembly. Critics viewed the ruling as a step toward dictatorship by Maduro’s Socialist Party, which has ruled for 18 years.
The head of the OAS, Luis Almagro, has called for Venezuela to be expelled from the group, a move that would further isolate Maduro.
Member countries of the OAS could separately impose sanctions on Venezuela as a form of pressure.
Monday’s meeting at first was canceled, but the bloc began a session in the afternoon despite objections from Maduro’s leftist ally Bolivia, which took the bloc’s presidency. …