June 3, 2017 / 1:23 AM / 5 months ago

Mexico seeks OAS resolution to end violence in Venezuela

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico said on Friday that it will push for the Organization of American States (OAS) at an upcoming meeting to call for an end to violence in Venezuela and for a peaceful resolution to a recent wave of protests that has left over 60 people dead.

Demonstrators clash with riot security forces at the fence of an air base while rallying against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

“The OAS resolution on Venezuela should indicate our concern about the cancellation of elections, lack of respect for the National Assembly, the existence of political prisoners, the use of military courts to try civilians,” Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

With international pressure mounting on President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government, foreign ministers from the 34-nation OAS bloc met in Washington on Wednesday to debate the situation in Venezuela.

The meeting was adjourned after the Bahamas representative on behalf of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) proposed the meeting be suspended and that permanent representatives of the OAS meet again to continue to flesh out proposals.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said it “will work to generate a resolution that will achieve enough votes, at least 24 votes in favor of the 34 member states,” when the OAS holds its general assembly on June 19-21 in Mexico’s Caribbean resort city of Cancun.

The Foreign Ministry said the resolution should call “for an end to violence and for the parties to solve the conflict via dialogue.”

Two months of protests against Maduro’s government, as opposition supporters demand elections, freedom for jailed activists, and foreign humanitarian aid, have convulsed the South American OPEC nation.

Mexico’s top diplomat Luis Videgaray said on Tuesday that Venezuela is no longer a functioning democracy.

That prompted Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez to say via Twitter a day later that she rejected his “vile and immoral declarations.”

Videgaray has been sharply criticized by Maduro’s government but has nonetheless pledged to use all diplomatic channels to help reach a peaceful political solution to the bloody crisis in Venezuela.

“Mexico will not respond to the disparaging remarks and will not change its position on the situation in Venezuela,” Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said.

Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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