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South American nations divided on Venezuela crisis

South American nations have failed to pass a resolution aimed at ending months of violent demonstrations in Venezuela. The oil-rich nation has been engulfed by a political and economic crisis.

The Organization of American States (OAS) failed on Monday to agree on a resolution to quell violent anti-government protests in Venezuela

Discussions among OAS foreign ministers in Mexico fell apart when a proposed resolution calling for representative democracy in the oil-rich nation failed to win the required number of votes to pass. Representatives from Venezuela stormed out of the talks, claiming other nations would soon follow.

Read more: 5 things to understand about oil-rich, cash-poor Venezuela

Venezuela has been engulfed by a political crisis since the beginning of April, spurred by a decision by Venezuela's Supreme Court to strip the opposition-controlled legislative branch of its powers. The decision was seen by many as a blatant power grab by President Nicolas Maduro and his allies. 

Although Maduro later reversed the decision, protests have continued in response to the country's desperate economic situation and depleting supply of basic goods, such as food and medicine.

Violent demonstrations have led to more than 70 deaths and 1,300 injuries.

Maduro also plans to hold elections for the opposition-controlled National Assembly next month in a bid to revamp the country's constitution.

Critics are determined to stop the vote, alleging that the elections are merely an attempt by the president to reform the assembly in his favor and ultimately dissolve the body.

The OAS proposal called on Maduro to "reconsider" a call for the assembly to re-write the country's constitution. It received 20 votes of support and five against. Eight countries, including Venezuela, abstained, causing it to fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

Ministers warn of ongoing violence

Ministers expressed regret that the resolution failed to win enough support.

"I do not want our hemisphere to continue breaking apart anymore," Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Morales, the acting chair of the meeting, said. "We need to look for solutions, to continue the dialogue and the only way to continue this dialogue is to keep this session open without a determinate date."

Read more: More injuries in Venezuela as regime pushes referendum

Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray said: "While we can't reach an agreement here - on the streets or Caracas and many other streets in other cities in Venezuela, today the violence continues."

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Michael Fitzpatrick, US deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, thought "we had such an agreement earlier in the day."

This is not the first time the OAS failed to pass a resolution on the violence in Venezuela. The OAS tried to strike a resolution in June but failed to reach consensus on a joint declaration.

Venezuela storms out

The AP news agency reported that Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez stormed out of the OAS meeting, claiming that other nations would soon follow.

Rodriguez did not say which other nations support Venezuela, but Venezuela received support from other left-leaning countries in the region, including Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador. Venezuela previously announced its intentions to leave OAS, but the official website still lists Venezuela as an official member. While Rodriguez attended the talks, she said that her country would "not recognize any resolution coming out of it."

The OAS is scheduled to meet until Wednesday.

dm/rg (AFP, AP)

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