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Antigua Diplomat Uses Venezuela Seat At OAS

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (CMC) — Antigua and Barbuda ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Sir Ronald Sanders has found a use for Venezuela’s seat at the hemispheric body.

During the 53rd OAS General Assembly, Sir Ronald revealed an amusing yet compelling truth that the only practical use of Venezuela’s seat at the OAS is as a convenient resting place for his briefcase.

In February 2019 the Caribbean Community chastised OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro for his “unilateral” stance in accepting Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela.

Guaido had challenged incumbent President Nicolas Maduro’s power, declaring himself interim president of Venezuela, according to the constitution. Maduro’s presidency was illegitimate, he said, because the elections were illegal and fraudulent.

But Sir Ronald has noted that the Venezuela seat has been empty since January, when the purported presidency of Juan Guaidó collapsed, having not paid any money to the organisation.

The alphabetical seating arrangement at the OAS starts with Antigua and Barbuda and ends with Venezuela, and by his playful observation, Ambassador Sanders raised a serious matter that has adversely affected the OAS since 2019 when the Government of Venezuela withdrew from membership of the organisation, having given two years’ notice in accordance with the OAS Charter.

From the outset of the anointment of Juan Guaidó as the president of Venezuela by a few countries, many of which have since reversed their position, Antigua and Barbuda has argued that the recognition of Guaidó by the OAS was contrary to the rules of the organisation and was illegal.

Speaking at the OAS General Assembly last week, Ambassador Sanders expressed his deep reservations regarding the continued inclusion of “mythical” contributions from Cuba and Venezuela, both of which have severed their connections with the OAS.