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News : International : Organization of American States (OAS) Last Updated: Jul 5, 2017 - 9:13:57 PM

OAS Secretary General Condemns Attacks against National Assembly
Jul 5, 2017 - 9:12:19 PM

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The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro strongly condemned today’s attack on the Venezuelan National Assembly, highlighting that attacks on democratic institutions are the very essence of a dictatorship.

"The unconstitutional and illegal actions against the National Assembly that took place this Wednesday directly serve the process of institutional weakening the country is suffering," he said.

During the special meeting held today by the National Assembly to celebrate the 206th anniversary of the country's Declaration of Independence, groups of government paramilitaries, known as colectivos, armed with sticks and pipes, some brandishing knives and firearms, broke into the grounds of the legislature and violently attacked lawmakers and staff. Workers, journalists and deputies were practically kidnapped by the paramilitary groups associated with the regime.

Several members of the National Assembly were injured, including Americo de Grazia, Nora Bracho, Luis Carlos Padilla, Leonardo Renault, Armando Armas, Franco Casella, Luis Stefanelli and Richard Blanco, some suffering deep lacerations to the head and face.

Officials and journalists were also beaten. Obviously, the Bolivarian National Guard, charged with providing security for the legislative power, did not intervene to stop the violence.

"Today should have been a time to reflect on the history of the country and the bonds that unite the people of Venezuela, instead the government has chosen yet again to use violence to silence dissent and ordered a premeditated attack on the very institution that is the symbol of democratic popular representation – the Venezuelan National Assembly,” said Almagro.

The OAS Secretary General added that "when the voice of the people is silenced with weapons and violence it is because nothing remains of democracy. The use of terror against citizens and institutions reveals a systematic repression the only purpose of which is to ensure the government remains in power."

The leader of the hemispheric Organization said "the regime intends to establish the institutional violence of the state in a dirty war against the people including one or more deaths per day, as if it were the 'new normal'."

"The Inter-American and international community must not accept this. This is not a question of policy issues, but of non-negotiable values and principles. This supposed 'new normal' should not be accepted by anyone," concluded Secretary General Almagro.

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