OAS head calls emergency meeting over Venezuelan crisis

Venezuela's government came under renewed pressure on Tuesday when regional body Organization of American States called for an emergency meeting.

Venezuela's government came under renewed pressure on Tuesday when regional body Organization of American States called for an emergency meeting.

OAS head Luis Almagro wants members to evaluate whether Venezuela has suffered an "unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order".

Venezuelan opposition politicians had urged the OAS to call the meeting.

The move could lead to Venezuela being suspended from the OAS.

"The secretary general considers that the institutional crisis in Venezuela demands immediate changes to the Executive power," a statement by Mr Almagro read.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro reacted angrily, accusing the OAS of "foreign intervention" and ordering it to leave Venezuela and the Americas.

He also said he would bring charges against the leaders of Congress who had requested the OAS to intervene, saying they had betrayed the nation.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro has been coming under increasing pressure to work with the opposition-controlled National Assembly to ease the political and economic tension in the South American country.

The two sides have been engaged in a stand-off ever since the MUD opposition coalition won control of the National Assembly in parliamentary elections in December.

MUD politicians say their every move is thwarted by the Supreme Court and the National Electoral Council, bodies they allege have been stacked with supporters of President Maduro.

Under the charter, the OAS secretary-general can call a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council to address situations where he or she considers that a member state's democratic order is at risk.

If two thirds of OAS members consider that Venezuela's government has undermined democracy, the country will be suspended from the OAS.

The meeting is expected to be held sometime between the 10 and 20 of June and is expected to coincide with the meeting of the OAS General Assembly in the Dominican Republic between 13 and 15 June.

Relations between the OAS and Venezuela have been tense for years but worsened in recent months as Mr Almagro and Mr Maduro traded insults.

BBC News |

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