The US chaired an informal meeting at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Monday to discuss the situation in Venezuela despite a boycott from leading members such as China and Russia.
“The crisis in Venezuela today poses a direct threat to international peace and security. Venezuela is an increasingly violent narco-state that threatens the region, the hemisphere, and the world,” Washington’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, declared during the session.
Also present at the meeting were Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro and UN High Commissioner Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad, both vocal critics of the government in Caracas.
The meeting was also boycotted by Bolivia and Egypt, who objected to Washington’s interference in Venezuelan internal affairs.
“The situation in Venezuela is an issue that is entirely the responsibility of Venezuelans and of course does not constitute a threat to international peace and security,” said Bolivian UN Ambassador Sacha Llorenty at a press conference alongside his Russian, Chinese, and Venezuelan counterparts Monday.
Thanking the other nations for their support, Venezuelan UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez denounced the US for “abusing its prerogatives” as a permanent UNSC member “to impose its geopolitical agenda” in violation of the UN Charter.
He likewise accused Washington of double standards in its expressed concern for human rights in Venezuela.
“It doesn’t stop being paradoxical that the United States tries to present itself to the world as a defender of human rights when it applies the death penalty, discriminates against its minorities, mistreats and assaults immigrants, contemplates torture, has prisons like Guantanamo and a long history of wars and invasions,” he continued.
Monday’s UNSC meeting comes as the European Parliament formally approved an arms embargo against Venezuela as part of what it termed “restrictive measures” aimed at putting pressure on the Maduro government.
The EU also reportedly adopted a legal framework for targeting Caracas officials with travel bans and asset freezes, following in the footsteps of the Trump administration, which imposed another round of sanctions against ten more Venezuelan officials last week.
The embargo has, however, been met with backlash from some EU legislators, who regard the move as hypocritical in light of Brussels’ ongoing arms sales to a host of notorious human rights violators.
“Today they go after Venezuela and the Venezuelan people, while they turn a blind eye to countries like Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and other Latin American countries where human rights violations matter less because their governments are friends,” declared United Left parliamentary spokesperson Marina Albiol.
Albiol also criticized the EU Parliament for taking its cues from Washington and right-wing parties within Europe.
The EU measures, she said, “are designed to continue backing the strategy of the United States and the European right-wing that tries to put an end to the [Venezuelan] government at any cost, without going through the ballot box.”
Last month, the European Parliament awarded the Venezuelan opposition its most prestigious human rights award in a highly controversial decision that was rejected by the legislature’s left bloc.
Top photo | United Nations U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, right, listens as Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almargo speaks during a U.N. meeting on Venezuela, Nov. 13, 2017 at U.N. headquarters. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
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