Local June 14, 2016 | 11:38 am

US, Venezuela clash at Dominican Republic conclave

Santo Domingo.- The 46th Organization ofAmerican States (OAS) General Assembly on Tuesday was the scene of scathing allegationspitting US Secretary of State, John F. Kerry and Venezuela Foreign minister DelcyRodríguez, over the crisis gripping the South American nation.

Kerry started the exchange when he stated Washington’s concernover Venezuela’s turmoil, but said Washington was willing to engage in a wide dialogueto address the country’s crisis.

He said many Venezuelans are dying in the lines in searchof food and medicines, and requested the release of political prisoners.

Kerry proposed invoking the OAS’s the Democratic Charteragainst Venezuela, and the immediate "release of the politicalprisoners" that he affirms are being held in that nation.

He said the South American nation needs a referendum pavingthe way to recall Nicolas Maduro’s government.

He said invoking the Democratic Charter would spur a "widerdebate" within the OAS. "This morning we heard of people who aredying, dying in a line to get food," Kerry said.

In response, Rodriguez accused Washington of hypocrisy forinterfering with other countries’ affairs. “We have spoken to the world and isan insolence to oversee other countries’ affairs, I have to defend Venezuela, it’sa free and sovereign nation."

She also cited the “political” imprisonment of Puerto Ricanindependence leader Oscar Lopez Rivera in a US federal facility, as well asindigenous leaders from that nation.

"The United States still keeps the world’s oldestprisoner Oscar López Rivera in custody, a prisoner of conscience, not of terrorism,not of causing extreme violence on the street," Rodriguez said.

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