LatinNews Daily - 20 April 2023

COLOMBIA: Petro calls for rewrite of OAS charter

On 19 April, Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro addressed the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, calling for a rewrite of the OAS charter.


Petro’s call for a rethink of the OAS’ central charter reflected his belief that the region’s authoritarian governments can be brought to heel on human rights issues through engagement rather than isolation. But his speech only deepened a rift with Peru’s government, and may worsen relations with the Venezuelan opposition ahead of next week’s conference in Bogotá aimed at reviving political dialogue in Venezuela.

  • Petro yesterday called for a “re-write” of the OAS charter, saying that “we are violating the democratic pact of the Americas, instead of moving towards a broader legal charter that deepens democracy”.
  • “I’m fighting for Venezuela to re-join the Inter-American human rights system,” he said, adding that the OAS should also “discuss [the integration of] Cuba, which was never in it”. Other issues that Petro said need including in an updated version include the rights of nature and the rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral land, among other things.
  • Venezuela’s membership status in the OAS is disputed. President Nicolás Maduro’s administration denounced the OAS charter in April 2017, which should trigger the country’s withdrawal from the OAS two years later. However, former opposition leader Juan Guaidó, claiming to be Venezuela’s legitimate president, annulled that denunciation and sent his own envoy to the OAS, Gustavo Tarre, who represented Venezuela in the regional body from 2019 until December 2022, when Guaidó’s ‘interim government’ was dissolved.
  • Petro used the impeachment and arrest of Peru’s former president Pedro Castillo (2021-2022) to argue that the OAS rules are being ignored by member states and that the organisation’s charter is no longer fit for purpose. “Why don’t we look at Peru, don’t they have a president behind bars without a judicial sentence and without his political rights – that’s to say, in contravention of the democratic charter?” he said.
  • Peru’s Foreign Minister Ana Cecilia Gervasi slammed Petro’s comments as “new and unacceptable interference in Peru’s internal affairs”. Petro, alongside Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has questioned the legitimacy of President Dina Boluarte’s government in Peru, resulting in the withdrawal of Peru’s ambassadors in Colombia and Mexico.

Looking Ahead: Petro will meet US President Joe Biden at the White House today (20 April), where he has said he will lobby for the lifting of sanctions on Venezuela.

Intelligence Research Ltd.
167-169 Great Portland Street,
5th floor,
London, W1W 5PF - UK
Phone : +44 (0) 203 695 2790
You may contact us via our online contact form
Copyright © 2022 Intelligence Research Ltd. All rights reserved.