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Published On: Fri, May 19th, 2017

US Accused of Promoting Venezuela Intervention at UN

Ryan Mallett-Outtrim (VA) : The United States took to the United Nations Wednesday to compare Venezuela’s current political crisis to Syria. For the first time, the US brought Venezuela’s current crisis before the UN Security Council (UNSC), though Washington claimed it wasn’t looking for international intervention in the South American country.

Riots in Caracas_Venezuela_May 2017“The intent of this briefing was to make sure everyone is aware of the situation … we’re not looking for Security Council action,” US ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters after the meeting. Haley continued by stating the international community needs to take action on Venezuela, including to “say ‘respect the human rights of your people’ or this is going to go in the direction we’ve seen so many others go”.

“We have been down this road with Syria, with North Korea, with South Sudan, with Burundi, with Burma,” she said. She also sought to distance the US from allegations made by Caracas that Washington is seeking regime change. “We’re not for the opposition, we’re not for President Maduro, we’re for the Venezuelan people,” she said.

The US Department of State has requested at least US$5.5 million in funding this year to “help civil society” groups in Venezuela. Critics allege these groups are almost entirely opposition organisations. Venezuelan state media outlet teleSUR has alleged this funding is just the tip of the iceberg and that the State Department has so far funnelled at least US$49 million to Venezuela’s opposition since 2009.

Venezuela responds

Venezuela responded to the UNSC meeting by accusing the US of seeking to destabilise the Maduro administration. “US meddling is what is stimulating the actions of violent groups in Venezuela,” Venezuelan UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez stated. Venezuelan allies likewise condemned the meeting, accusing the US of seeking to use the UNSC as a vehicle to promote regime change.

“We are concerned when international security issues are confused with an interventionist agenda,” warned Bolivia’s ambassador, Sacha Llorenti. Meanwhile, Uruguayan ambassador Elbio Rosselli expressed concern over Venezuela’s political crisis, but called for an internal solution through dialogue. “The only possible solution is a political understanding between the disputing sides in Venezuela,” Rosselli said. “They themselves are the ones who must put the situation in their own hands and carry negotiations to a satisfactory outcome,” he added.

Then on Thursday, Russia offered to provide assistance in resolving Venezuela’s political stand-off, while calling for respect for the rule of law. “Any action of the parties, both the government and the opposition forces, should be … solely within the legal sphere, in strict accordance with the constitution, and without any destructive external interference,” Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zajarova said. Venezuela is currently in the grip of its worst economic downturn in two decades, as violent protests by the country’s right-wing opposition are poised to enter their eighth week.

Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Venezuelanalysis

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