Cuban President Raul Castro has called the Organization of American States (OAS) an “instrument of imperialist domination,” saying Cuba will never return to the body.
Castro spoke Saturday at a summit of Caribbean countries in Havana after OAS’s secretary called for possible sanctions against Venezuela and its ejection from the organization.
OAS head General Luis Almagro has requested an urgent meeting of the group’s 34 member states for a vote on Venezuela.
The request comes amid a political crisis in Venezuela where opposition is pushing for the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro has accused Almagro of working with Venezuela’s opposition and the US government to undermine his administration.
Castro lent his “robust and unconditional support” to Maduro, saying he was extending “our most firm solidarity to our brothers the Venezuelan people, to the legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro.”
Cuba stepped out of the OAS in 1962 under the US pressure. Castro called the OAS “an instrument of imperialist domination” that will never change and “because of that Cuba will never return.”
Castro spoke at the seventh summit of heads of state for the Association of Caribbean States as the current head of the regional group that seeks to strengthen ties between its 25 member countries.
Apart from Maduro, other leftist leaders in Latin America are engaged in a battle with opposition parties, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff who is suspended from office amid a corruption probe.
Castro said Rousseff was facing a “parliamentary coup promoted by the oligarchic and neoliberal right-wing,” which he called “a threat to peace, stability and essential regional integration.”
“We can’t remain indifferent before this turbulence in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is a consequence of an imperialist and oligarchic counteroffensive against popular and progressive governments,” he said.
Several Latin American countries have refused to recognize Brazil’s new interim government. Leaders of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador have supported Rousseff, challenging the legitimacy of her ouster and the authority of her successor Michel Temer.
On Thursday, a senior Brazilian official said Brazil may help block Venezuela from taking the rotating presidency of the Mercosur trade group this month.
President Maduro called upon Latin America on Saturday not to give in to “brutal pressure” from the United States to isolate his government.
“I call upon the governments of the continent to maintain solidarity, cooperation and understanding and not to submit to … brutal pressure to isolate Venezuela,” he said in Havana.
Maduro is facing protests at home for a recall referendum against his rule amid an economic crisis that includes food and medicine shortages, spiraling inflation and sporadic looting.
Maduro has denounced this as part of an undercover US-backed coup against his government.
“Venezuela will not give in, it will not kneel down, we will fight with the same force we have fought against coups and any type of interventionism these last 17 years,” he said.