OAS Condemns Zambrano’s Arrest
By Juan Delgado/Diálogo May 30, 2019On May 13, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) unanimously condemned the detention of Édgar Zambrano, vice president of the Venezuelan National Assembly. The document, which was requested by Venezuela’s permanent representative, was approved during an extraordinary session at OAS headquarters in Washington D.C.
"The political situation in Venezuela has been a subject of continual concern for the OAS, which has repeatedly issued statements in defense of the rule of law, upholding democratic order, human rights, and the guarantee of due process," said the official resolution of the regional bloc.
The document goes on to demand the immediate release of Zambrano and "a halt to the persecution and harassment of unduly prosecuted representatives, as well as to demand guarantees for the protection of their physical safety and that of their families."
Agents of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN, in Spanish) arrested Zambrano on the evening of May 8, charging him with "high treason" for supporting Operation Freedom of April 30, an effort led by Interim President Juan Guaidó.
The legislator’s detention is part of the offensive the Nicolás Maduro regime launched against 10 lawmakers who support Guaidó’s efforts to restore constitutional order.
"Zambrano was kidnapped in a most arbitrary way, in his car. SEBIN acted in a highly irregular way, which is a violation of the Constitution," said Gustavo Tarré, Venezuela’s permanent representative to the OAS.
Carlos Trujillo, the U.S. representative, called Zambrano's situation unacceptable. "We join in condemning Maduro's despicable act. It is an illegitimate action and an attack against independence of an elected legislative authority. Zambrano must be released immediately," Trujillo said.
"We reject the violation of parliamentary immunity and condemn Zambrano's arrest," said Argentine representative Paula María Bertol. "We denounce that Maduro does not represent a democratic government at all."
"Maduro's dictatorship has violated people's rights. This repressive measure executed by the political police is a continuation of infringements of fundamental rights," said Chilean Ambassador Hernán Salinas. "This is a new affront to human rights."
For his part, Brazilian Ambassador Fernando Simas Magalhães said that the violation of parliamentary immunity is an attack against the people whom the National Assembly represents. "Maduro does not represent Venezuela; on the contrary, he is usurping sovereign power."
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States presented the resolution the OAS approved.