Sunday, July 05, 2009

OAS office...

Let's suppose for a minute the following: London's mayor began a hunger strike on Friday calling on the EU to mediate in the UK and demanding Gordon Brown's government hand over funds to pay city employees. Mayor Boris Johnson announced his hunger strike as he turned in a document with his demands to EU officials, a city planning director told The Associated Press.

Johnson was democratically elected mayor and has protested what he calls a violation of the democracy after Brown appointed a member of his ruling party to a new post as top authority in England's capital. The pro-New Labour National Assembly has also transferred nearly all of Johnson's budget and services to the new authority.

OK...that's fiction but now imagine the OAS office in Caracas and the above is more or less the equivalent of the situation with Chavez in Venezuela and the reason why Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma began a hunger strike on Friday. He has called on the OAS (Organization of American States) to mediate in Venezuela and to assure that Chavez's government hand over funds to pay city employees.

"The opposition mayor was elected last year and has protested what he calls a violation of the constitution after Chavez appointed a member of his ruling party to a new post as top authority in Venezuela's capital. The pro-Chavez National Assembly has also transferred nearly all of Ledezma's budget and services to the new federal authority."

The timing is interesting as the OAS is in the news re Honduras although the following quote is completely relevant to the situation in Venezuela:

"Will the OAS ever be capable of understanding that simply holding elections has never been and never will be a valid, sufficient argument for classifying a government as democratic?"

VenEconomy: Who Violated the Constitution in Honduras? It makes for interesting reading...if you're interested!

"There are fears that, once again, this collapsing organization, which counts among its members several governments of a totalitarian bent, will not enforce the Democratic Charter to defend respect for the Constitution in Honduras and the principles of a true democracy. It is more than likely that the OAS will, once again, succumb to the demagogic temptation to defend certain fledgling dictators disguised as democrats."

The OAS met yesterday and suspended Honduras [July 5th OAS press release] only the 2nd time that they've taken such a measure: the first time was Cuba in 1962 and such is the irony of life that Cuba was reinstated LAST MONTH (June 2009) at the 39th General Assembly of the OAS, in...wait for it...HONDURAS! Despite this suspension they refused to get involved in the "return" of ousted President Manuel Zelaya ** who seems intent on making bloody an as yet bloodless affair and although the whole incident has been 'widely criticised by the international community' it is not as simple as the "right wing coup" it seems to have been made out to be. [BBC Q&A]

** This return is expected today and the Hondurans have said they will refuse to let the plane land...

Update 7am (July 6th) : They did refuse to let it land last night [NYT].

The flyover infuriated some members of Honduras’s air force. “That was a flagrant violation of our sovereignty by a Venezuelan aircraft,” said an air force officer who spoke on the condition that he not be identified. “They entered our airspace without permission and they were flying lower than allowed. It was an act of provocation.”

And there was blood, although not the first according to Pablo Ordaz's write-up in El País this morning who also syas that many demonstrators were damning the name of Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez who had said there would be blood. Just over an hour ago (6a.m. Spain time) Zelaya gave a press conference in El Salvador where his plan landed. He was accompanied by the Presidents of Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina and El Salvador. [El País]

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