OAS will continue talks on Venezuela crisis during General Assembly

Top diplomats from across the Western Hemisphere fell short Wednesday in their bid to reach agreement about how to address Venezuela's deteriorating democratic crisis, with some countries insisting that foreigners had no right to intervene in Venezuela's internal affairs.

An emotional gathering of the Organization of American States ended with no consensus, other than an agreement to keep talking. Unable to secure enough support for either of two draft resolutions, which called for a reduction in violence, the foreign ministers said they'd reconvene in a few weeks at the organization’s General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico. 

The lack of agreement came despite the urgent pleas from some nations represented at the extraordinary meeting in Washington, where foreign ministers broadly shared one hope: that Venezuela, which has vowed to leave the regional group, would reconsider. 

"We're talking about people dying, dying," said Brazil's Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes. He argued that democracy was "not a luxury" and asked plaintively: "What can we do collectively to make a difference, to reach out to the Venezuelan citizens, to rescue their fundamental freedoms?" 

But left-leaning nations that have been sympathetic to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro insisted the OAS had no business interfering in the crisis, in which protests against Maduro's government have left at least 60 people dead. Nicaraguan diplomat Luis Alvarado said his country condemned and rejected the attempt to "subvert the rights" of a sovereign country, comments that were echoed by Bolivia's Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni Mamani, who accused the OAS of choosing "aggression" and "confrontation." 

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, who did not attend the meeting, said that despite Maduro's decision to withdraw from the OAS, he instructed her to attend the organization's General Assembly, taking place on June 19, where the region's foreign ministers will likely once again grapple with the country's crisis. 

While the discussions were under way in Washington, thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets in Caracas again and tried to march to the foreign ministry. 

Opposition politicians said at least 89 people were injured when protesters were repressed by security forces that blocked their way.