Bolivian President Evo Morales strongly criticized Thursday the chief of the Organization of American States, likening Luis Almagro’s political agenda in Latin America to Washington’s historical intervention in the region to prop up right-wing dictatorships and crush revolutionary and progressive movements.
“Luis Almagro dives and betrays the principles of the OAS. Almagro and the U.S. are a threat to democracy in Latin America,” Morales wrote on his official Twitter account to 179,000 followers, one day after a meeting at the OAS on the political and economic situation in Venezuela that Caracas and its allies slammed for promoting intervention.
“Almagro has an Operation Condor policy,” Morales continued, referring to the U.S.-backed regional counterinsurgency program that killed and disappeared tens of thousands of political dissidents, human rights defenders and other left-wing activists in the 1970s and 1980s in the name of stabilizing brutal military regimes in South America. “If not physically, we wants to politically eliminate the anti-imperialist president and governments.”
Morales has repeatedly taken to Twitter to share sharp words directed at the OAS secretary-general. In April, he accused Almagro of being responsible for violence in Venezuela as a result of calling for foreign intervention in Venezuela and stoking tensions between the government of President Nicolas Maduro and the opposition by refusing to condemn right-wing violence.
“Presidents of the left: of the people. Presidents of the right: of empire,” Morales added. “Social movements must identify internal and external enemies.”
Morales has stressed in the past that the OAS should be a body that promotes regional integration, not foreign intervention, holding respect for sovereignty as a core value.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy accused Almagro Thursday of driving the OAS toward destruction. She also thanked the countries of the Caribbean Community, or Caricom, and ALBA, formally known as Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, for backing Venezuela at the OAS on Wednesday and blocking the body from adopting what Caracas has dubbed interventionist measures against the country.
Almagro has garnered criticism in recent months for what some have described as an obsession with Venezuela. The OAS chief has consistently heavily criticized the Maduro government while failing to condemn opposition violence and also turning a blind eye to political and human rights crises in other countries in the region, such as Brazil and Mexico.
Over 100 Diplomats Call to Restore Democracy in Brazil
Further cementing the widespread opposition against the President from diverse sections of the Brazilian public, an open letter signed Thursday by over 100 Brazilian diplomats condemned the administration of Michel Temer and called for the restoration of democratic elections to the country.
The letter, signed by 100 Brazilian diplomats in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expresses concern that the “significant achievements” of democracy in Brazil are under threat by the crises surrounding the unelected Temer administration, his refusal to step down amidst ongoing protests and investigations, and the use of state force to suppress dissent.
“We call on Brazilian society, especially its leaders, to renew their commitment to a constructive and responsible dialogue, calling on all leaders to avoid authoritarian temptations, conveniences and personal or partisan attachments for the restoration of the democratic pact in the country,” an excerpt from the letter says.
“Only in this way will it be possible to resume a new cycle of development, legitimized by popular vote and in harmony with the ideals of social and environmental justice and respect fo human rights,” the letter continues.
The letter signifies the deepening of opposition to Temer, whose popularity is now in the single digits. Mass movements, workers unions, and government officials alike have called for the holding of free and democratic elections, in response to which Temer has only dug in his heels.
President Temer, who took power last year after his predecessor Dilma Rousseff was removed in what many call a parliamentary coup that allowed the circumvention of elections, has been deeply unpopular and widely protested for his administration’s corruption scandals and implementation of deep austerity measures.
“We reject any restriction on the free exercise of the right to peaceful and democratic protest. We reject the use of force to suppress or inhibit protests. It is up to the State to ensure the safety of demonstrators and the integrity of public assets, taking into account proportionality in the employment of police forces and respect for constitutional rights and guarantees,” the letter writes.
Under his administration, and encouraged by the International Monetary Fund, significant cuts have been made to social security and pensions, among other public services.
In the midst of already declining popularity, a tape was leaked which recorded a conversation in which Temer can be clearly heard giving his approval to bribes.
Following widespread mass protests, the initiation of a corruption investigation, and calls for his resignation, Temer reiterated that he would not be resigning from the Presidency.
In response to escalating protests, Temer ordered the military to respond, and several dozen protesters were injured as a result.