A representative of the opposition in Venezuela called on Colombia to defend democracy in his country that has seen tensions rise after elections last month.
Maria Corina Machado, an independent in Venezuela’s National Assembly who has not officially recognized the presidency of newly elected Nicolas Maduro, last week required facial reconstructive surgery after receiving injuries in a fistfight that broke out in a meeting of the National Assembly.
Machado met with Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez and members of Congress. During the meeting she called on the Organization of American States to assess the democratic situation in her country.
“Activate the Inter-American Democratic Charter, we want help from the Latin American countries, and in particular Colombia, so that the Permanent Council of the OAS discusses what is happening, in our opinion there is a clear violation of the instrument [the Inter-American Democratic Charter],” said Machado.
If a review finds that the democratic order has been interrupted in Venezuela, the nation could have its OAS membership revoked.
“We would like President Juan Manuel Santos to back the Venezuelan people. And, like all Venezuelans, we feel the necessity for peace in Colombia, and we hope that the Colombian government will defend democracy in Venezuela,” said the assembly member, adding, “There can only be sustainable peace in Colombia if there is a democratic government in Venezuela that firmly combats the guerrilla and the paramilitaries that today operate freely on Venezuelan territory.”
Machado also said that nearly 5 million Colombo-Venezuelans living in her nation are suffering human rights violations “at the hands of the Chavez regime.”
In reference to the April 30 brawl in Venezuela’s national assembly, Nicolas Maduro stated that “the opposition came to provoke violence” and declared that “this cannot be repeated.”