July 21, 2019
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OAS to look at challenges to democracy, Colombian FM says

Bogota, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- The 49th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which begins later this week in the northwestern Colombian city of Medellin, will bring to the table the challenges facing democracy in the hemisphere, particularly in Venezuela and Nicaragua, Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said in an interview with EFE.

"Everything to do with the defense of democracy, everything to do with overcoming the damage to democratic institutionalism in the hemisphere, can of course count on Colombia's active support," Trujillo said.

The foreign minister, based on his international experience, answered questions on video about the assembly, which will take place June 26-28 and to which are invited foreign ministers of the 34 active members, since Cuba is a member but has not participated since 1962

Trujillo said he has no doubt "that the Venezuelan problem will be discussed at the General Assembly," and recalled that Colombia, together with other countries of the Lima Group, "continue to support all political and diplomatic measures, plus the application of international law, that will help create conditions enabling Venezuelans to recover their democracy and freedom."

"Colombia's position is sufficiently well known based on its legal and political duties as a member of the Organization of American States and as a signatory nation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter...and of course this matter will be discussed in the assembly because it has to do with the essence of the OAS, which is the defense of democracy," Trujillo said.

According to the minister, Colombia's tough stance against what he called "the illegitimate Nicolas Maduro regime" is justly founded on the obligations imposed on signers of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Colombia has been supportive of Venezuelans fleeing the crisis in their country and has welcomed close to 1.3 million of them, but the foreign minister took advantage of the OAS General Assembly to request more help from the international community in dealing with this exodus.

"We have made gigantic efforts and will continue to do so, and we are naturally grateful for the international cooperation received, but I must say it is insufficient considering the growing flood of migrants from Venezuela," Trujillo said.

With regard to Nicaragua, where a sociopolitical crisis has left hundreds of people dead following the protests that exploded in April 2018, the foreign minister said that Colombia is part of the Working Group of the 0AS Permanent Council, which tracks the constitutional and human-rights situation in that country.

"Also with relation to Nicaragua, Colombia's position is to defend the inter-American democratic view that representative democracy is "the indispensable condition for stability, peace and development in the region," Trujillo said.

By Jaime Ortega Carrascal

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