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Raul Castro: Cuba Will Not Return to OAS In a Show of Solidarity with Venezuela


Cuba will not return to the Organization of American States (OAS), says President Raul Castro in a show of solidarity with Venezuela.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almargo has called for sanctions against Venezuela.

At a summit of Caribbean countries in Havana, President Raul Castro called the OAS “an instrument of imperialist domination”.

Meanwhile, former Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has met jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.

It was Leopoldo Lopez’s first visit from anyone other than family members or lawyers since the 45-year-old was sentenced to 14 years in prison last year after being found guilty of inciting violence.Raul Castro Cuba US ties

Leopoldo Lopez’s supporters insist he is innocent and say he was jailed on trumped-up, politically-motivated charges.

The meeting at Ramo Verde military prison outside Caracas lasted about 90 minutes, according to Adriana Lopez, the opposition leader’s sister.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is trying to negotiate between the opposition and the government in Venezuela’s worsening political crisis.

Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1962 but following a recent thaw in relations with the US it was suggested that the island might return.

However, Raul Castro appeared to rule out the possibility, offering “our most firm solidarity to our brothers the Venezuelan people, to the legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro”.

President Nicolas Maduro is locked in a dispute with the OAS over opposition demands in Venezuela for a recall referendum.

Luis Almargo said earlier this week that “the institutional crisis in Venezuela demands immediate changes in the actions of the executive branch”.

He has called an emergency meeting of the OAS at which member states will decide whether to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which could lead to Venezuela’s suspension from the OAS.