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Venezuela: Opposition NGO Súmate Will Participate in OAS General Assembly

Editorial | El Universal

Washington, 24 May 2005 | The non-governmental organization, Súmate, will participate in the next foreign ministers' meeting of the Organization of American States, it was agreed to on Tuesday, for the second time, by the ambassadors to the institution reported AP.

The agreement also ratifies the participation of 18 other Venezuelan NGO's who have been formally invited to the General Assembly to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from June 5 to 7.

The list of NGO’s had been initially approved on Friday by the Permanent Council, made up of ambassadors from the 34 member states, but upon Venezuela's request, the decision was deferred pending a vote for “reconsideration.”

The Venezuelan delegation to the OAS alleged that Súmate had actively participated in the temporary removal from office of President Hugo Chávez in April of 2002.

When they were about to vote on Tuesday concerning approval of the reconsideration of their decision of last Friday, the Venezuelan ambassador, Jorge Valero, told the ambassadors that his government was not going to persist on the matter in honor of a “spirit of understanding” concerning proceedings.

“We have already explained how this NGO has been closely tied to coupism, and that the principal leader of this organization is María Corina Machado, who subscribed to and signed Pedro Carmona Estanga's coup decree,” stated to AFP on Tuesday the Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS, Jorge Valero.

Valero explained that the United States, who is the host country for the meeting, had already given its “endorsement” to 117 others from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Slovakia, Spain, the United States, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Switzerland and Uruguay.

The OAS has 34 member states; countries outside the region are observers. In view of Valero's position, the Chair of the Permanent Council, Alberto Borea, from Peru, said that “the original motion” for reconsideration “is set aside,” thus the vote for a list totaling 118 NGO's, taken on Friday, remains in force.

“I do not wish to repeat arguments already expressed,” said Valero concerning Súmate. “Venezuela's delegation has on various occasions stated its concern about having Súmate appear on that list of numerous NGO’s, something that in our judgment is incompatible with the practice, the conduct, the democratic dynamic that should characterize the OAS.”

Translation by W.K.

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