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US’ Blinken warns regional bloc of increase of anti-democratic leaders in Latin America

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BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference with Colombian President Gustavo Petro (not seen) following talks on Blinken's first official visit to South America at Casa de Narino Palace in Bogota, Colombia on October 03, 2022. (Juancho Torres - Anadolu Agency)
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Oct 07, 2022 - 05:51 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cautioned the Organization of American States (OAS) about an increase of anti-democratic leaders in Latin America during an address Thursday.

Blinken arrived in Peru for the meeting where he asked countries to “condemn the authoritarian regimes in our region,” and mentioned Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.

He said the government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua is in breach of the OAS Charter of Democracy by “arbitrarily locking up its political opponents, brutally cracking down on protesters, committing flagrant election fraud, and attacking and imprisoning journalists and human rights defenders.”

Nicaragua has been undergoing a political and social crisis since April 2018 that was exacerbated by a presidential election that the international community has denounced as neither free nor fair. The relationship between the OAS and the government of Ortega has since been tense.

Ortega´s government has started the process of withdrawing from the bloc after the regional body adopted a resolution saying elections in Nicaragua lacked “democratic legitimacy.”

Blinken also criticized Cuba for “the hundreds of people arrested” during July 2021 protests. There are some who are still in prison just for going out to “ask for their human rights to be respected,” he said.

He also accused the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro of causing a “humanitarian catastrophe that has displaced more than 6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants” and he urged OAS member states to support a “negotiated solution that leads to free and fair elections in Venezuela in 2024.”

Another important issue that was discussed on the first day of the meeting was the migration crisis.

Blinken announced that Washington will allocate $240 million for countries on the continent to “assist” migrants in transit, as well as to strengthen their borders.

He urged Latin American nations to follow up on the Los Angeles migration declaration made in June, where several countries said they were committed to curbing migration flows.

Lima is the last stop on Blinken´s tour of Latin America, which took him to Colombia and Chile before finishing in Peru.

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