Let Latin American leaders lead
The March 18 editorial “A principled appeal to action” asserted that the Obama administration “ignored” a 2016 appeal from Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro to apply the Inter-American Democratic Charter against Venezuela. The reality is that the Obama administration supported Mr. Almagro’s initiative and made repeated public statements to this effect. Additionally, the United States was one of 20 countries that voted in favor of discussing Mr. Almagro’s report in June 2016, even though it was clear the proposal would not get the two-thirds vote needed to advance.
Mr. Almagro’s latest invocation of the charter has a greater likelihood of success. While several Latin American leaders have expressed reservations about suspending Venezuela from the OAS without prior consultation, there is renewed interest in regional solutions to the country’s crisis. Rather than seeking vociferous leadership, as the editorial board encouraged, the Trump administration should be strategic. OAS members on the fence will need convincing from their regional neighbors, and the latter should be given the support and space to lead.
David Smilde, New Orleans The writer is a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America.