Venezuela goes through with threat to leave the OAS

CARACAS — Venezuela’s government announced Wednesday that it will go ahead with its threatened withdrawal from the Organization of American States, the regional body whose leader has been one of the fiercest critics of embattled socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The move came on the same day as fierce confrontations in the capital between security forces and antigovernment protesters who staged another march amid political unrest that has been blamed for 29 deaths in recent weeks. Clashes were also reported in other Venezuelan cities.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez called for the OAS withdrawal after a brief but contentious meeting at the group’s Washington headquarters. Its permanent council voted in favor of holding a special session to evaluate Venezuela’s crisis, adding to mounting international pressure for Maduro to schedule delayed elections and free detained political activists.


Rodriguez said the OAS action was taken to ‘‘intervene and take custody of our country, something that fortunately will never happen.’’

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Tension between a bloc of OAS members that includes the United States and Venezuela has been steadily rising since Secretary General Luis Almagro issued a 75-page report in March accusing Maduro’s government of systematically violating human rights and standards of democracy enshrined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, to which Venezuela is a signatory.

associated Press