CARACAS, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelans on Tuesday marched in support of the government as the Organization of American States (OAS) met to discuss the country's possible suspension from the hemispheric bloc.
Despite Venezuela's objections, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro presided over a special session to debate whether the ruling Venezuelan socialist party (PSUV) has violated democratic principles that would merit suspension.
"The Venezuelan people will raise their voices against the unpatriotic attitude of some national political sectors" that support Almagro's initiative, Hector Rodriguez, of the PSUV, told reporters, referring to the right-wing opposition.
Almagro's campaign to sanction Venezuela's government for its handling of the country's political and economic crises has the backing of 18 of the bloc's 34 members, according to Caracas-based news network Telesur, including Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras and Uruguay.
However, the measure lacks the support of a key member, the United States, which has said it is not currently seeking Venezuela's immediate suspension from the OAS, the agency said, citing a U.S. State Department official.
"Our goal for the special session is not immediate suspension," Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Michael Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
"We encourage Venezuela to participate in a productive discussion on ways to solve the economic and humanitarian crisis," added Fitzpatrick.
A bitter power struggle between President Nicolas Maduro's administration and the country's right-wing factions has helped plunge Venezuela into crisis by bringing the government to a standstill.
The opposition-controlled congress is disinclined to work with the government on any issues, leaving average Venezuelans to grapple with problems such as runaway inflation and a lack of basic goods, which the government alleges are tactics used by the conservatives to sow discontent.
Venezuela's National Assembly, for example, voted in favor of activating the OAS' Inter-American Democratic Charter against Maduro, though on Tuesday the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) annulled the decision as unconstitutional.