Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council Meeting on Venezuela
You can turn your hourglass as many times as you wish, but I will take my time.
We are both surprised and not at the convening of an emergency meeting on Venezuela, all the more with participation of the Vice-President of the United States, whom you are always glad to welcome in this room. It is a pity he did not want to listen to other Members of the Council share their views on the situation in Venezuela. Today we watch just another act in a multi-act drama that attempts to change the regime in Venezuela. The situation in Venezuela does not pose a threat to international peace and security, whereas external actors pose a direct threat to peace and security inside Venezuela. This is what we have just heard.
We have just been presented with a terrifying picture of how the people of Venezuela suffers under an “illegitimate dictator” and how these sufferings can be alleviated only by decisive action of global community that of course would be lead by the US. I would like to ask where those figures and this evidence come from? When was the last time any of you visited Venezuela? You study the situation remotely, you proceed from the assumption that "president" J.Guaido is the only legitimate authority in the country and the only source of information about what is going on there.
I would like to address Ms.Page who was talking about a precarious situation with healthcare in Venezuela. In particular, she spoke of an epidemic of measles in Venezuela. Unfortunately, epdemics happen. Did you know that the government of New-York proclaimed an emergency situaton regarding a measles epiemic that broke out in the vicinity of the UN Headquarters - in Brooklyn?
We have been over this already in many other regions of the world. "Eye-witnesses" residing in the West told us bone-chilling stories about the sufferings of the nations of Iraq, Libya, Syria. The effect of those stories was that after interference by the West those countries had to undergo real sufferings that has not stopped even by now. Do you want the same scenario for Venezuela?
Just like the official authorities in Caracas, we do not deny that the humanitarian situation in Venezuela is far from being intact. We stand ready to work together with them in order to improve it. In this regard we are guided by UN General Assembly resolution 46/182 that stipulates among other issues that humanitarian help has to be requested by legitimate authorities of an affected country.
The UN Secretariat should promote this, however the OCHA report produced a mixed impression. For one part, it points out that when providing assistance to Venezuela, humanitarian tasks should be distinguished from political ones. Russia by all means stands for neutral and unbiased nature of humanitarian assistance. For the other part, we are disappointed by the fact that the data was collected and published without consent of Venezuela’s legitimate government. Thus we seem to be getting back to the ‘not that glorious’ times when OCHA was used to disseminate unverified data, don’t we? I hope this is not so.
Besides, the needs assessment is an inalienable part of preparing a humanitarian action plan, and it is normally done only upon approval by legitimate authorities? To ignore this principle means to undermine the key provision of UNGA resolution 46/182.
We reject point blank the US methods for Venezuela. One hand of yours holds Venezuela 'by the throat', introducing renewed sanctions and limitations that impede the country’s normal development, whereas the international assistance to the countries in need should be aimed at creating a situation, in which a country is able to take care of its people. The other hand 'picks the pockets' of Venezuelans by shamelessly expropriating their assets in Western banks. Since the beginning of this year alone you have seized over $30 bn of Venezuela’s funds and proclaimed that only impostor J.Guaido can manage it. The overall damage caused by the US to Venezuela’s economy since 2013 is estimated hundreds of billion USD worth.
That being said, you still are the loudest voice among those who urge to help the people of Venezuela!
By the way, may I remind that the United States is not settled with providing humanitarian aid to itself. The impact of 'Maria' hurricane that devastated i.a. Puerto Rico in fall 2017 has not been completely mitigated. There were, as we remember, water and food shortages, power blackouts and scarce medical assistance. 225 thousand households lost their homes. The cereal harvest that was crucial for the island’s economy was destroyed. By various estimates, the overall damage stood at $45 to 90 bn. And yet, Washington rejected any international assistance.
In September 2017 President N. Maduro claimed ready to launch a Puerto Rico support program. Cuba also offered its assistance in overcoming the effects of 'Maria' in Puerto Rico, however Washington rejected its help as well.
As a result, Venezuela provided its aid via CITGO, a US-based PDVSA daughter. As for Cuba, the leadership showed respect for the US refusal; it did not try to impose aid on Washington and never used this episode for propaganda purposes, even though this decision was very unpopular in the US.
Caracas does not reject humanitarian assistance that is offered in accordance with the UN-endorsed principles. Russia and a number of other countries provided aid via WHO.
Sanctions and external interference do not let Venezuela put an end to the crisis developments. As for the internal political disputes, we are convinced they may only be overcome by a direct dialogue within Venezuela.
The US is persistently shattering the situation in Venezuela. It deliberately provokes crisis around this country in order to change a legitimately elected leader for a US protege. There have been many instances of the US blatantly interfering in the internal affairs of Latin American countries and toppling the unwanted leaders and regimes by military force. I would like to address Venezuela’s neighbors and ask: Did you fail to draw any lessons from history? Don’t you understand that Venezuela is just a ‘bargaining chip’ in geopolitical and geostrategic struggle for influence in the region and the world? In the spirit of the reanimated 'Monroe Doctrine', you know. By the way, the views of Latin American countries on the situation in Venezuela are not that unanimous as the US Vice-President presented it. We have heard proofs of this during previous sesions of the Council.
It is extremely strange to speak once again about seemingly obvious home truths. The solution to the provoked crisis in Venezuela can only be achieved by an internal Venezuelan dialogue. However the self-proclaimed president does not seem to be ready for this dialogue. He has not received instructions on that matter. Still there is no other way. In this context we welcome any international initiatives of Latin American origin that aim to establish such dialogue between the legitimate government and leaders of the opposition. Our experience tells us that the most promising in this regard is the Mexico and Uruguay-proposed “Montevideo Mechanism”. It envisages promotion of a multi-faceted and all-encompassing dialogue and has greater chances for success than other initiatives that envisage compliance with some preconditions in order to begin dialogue.
Everyone who wants to make constructive contributions to launching an inclusive dialogue within Venezuela, should have an opportunity to join the ‘good service’ and/or mediator efforts.
What is going on in the Security Council today, to our regret, is another attack against official Caracas and ordinary Venezuelans.
May I remind that in parallel to the attempts to impose humanitarian services, the “well-wishers” try to challenge the authorities of Venezuela’s official delegations at international platforms. We have heard about this today from the US Vice-Pesident. I am not going to comment on the general tone of his remark. What I am going to say is that the permanent representative of Venezuela who is present in this hall has been appointed by the legitimate government of his country, and his authorities have been confirmed by the UN General Assembly
More than that, the same “friends” change Venezuela’s official envoys, assist in capturing diplomatic property. The basic principles of the UN Charter are blatantly violated, vital norms of international law are undermined. Probably the ‘international rules-based order’ that our partners try to promote so hard now envisages such ‘bandit’ action, however the international law does not – this is for sure.
We call upon the US to recognize after all the right of Venezuelans and of other nations to be masters of their fate. If you want to ‘make America great again’, wherein all of us have a genuine interest, then stop interfering in the internal affairs of others. You will be respected for that. You do not like others to interfere in your affairs, do you? No one does.
Right of response:
Just to clarify. The government of Venezuela was ready to purchase vaccines, but its money was stolen, that was kept, as we already mentioned, among others in US and British banks. It is as simple as that. You first create problems, than urge to solve them.