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Foreign minister: Unprecedented move will take two years

OAS members had called for special meeting before announcement

Caracas, Venezuela CNN  — 

Venezuela will withdraw from the Organization of American States (OAS), according to its foreign minister, who announced the decision on national television.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told VTV state television Wednesday that the beleaguered country, which is facing huge civil unrest, would take the unprecedented step of leaving the pan-American organization over what it sees as attempts by foreign governments to interfere in its affairs by siding with the opposition in the latest wave of protests in the country.

“In the OAS, we announced that if these intrusive, arbitrary, illicit, misdirected and rude actions were to persist against the sovereignty of our country, we would immediately proceed to denounce the letter of OAS and to initiate the definite withdrawal of Venezuela form this regional organization,” Rodriguez said.

She added that the government will formally announce its withdrawal from the group, and that she expects the process to take two years.

The move comes as Venezuela experiences civil unrest. Protests, which have been ongoing for months, escalated in April and have resulted in dozens of deaths. The unrest stems from dissatisfaction with the government, which has been accused of economic mismanagement resulting in huge shortages of daily essentials like food and medicine.

Venezuela’s attorney general said Wednesday that at least 28 people have been killed since the unrest erupted at the beginning of April. This number inclu