The United Nation’s Security Council addressed the ongoing Venezuelan crisis today, with United States ambassador Nikki Haley offering a scathing assessment of the Maduro regime. The body is meeting to discuss corruption in Venezuela.
During her intervention, Haley said:
Governments like the ones in Venezuela and Iran exist to serve their own interests, and corruption is the medium through which they do this.
Haley also said that Washington is making “an additional effort” to ensure that the sanctions that it has levied against Caracas “directly affect the Maduro regime and not the Venezuelan people”. To this end, Haley said, sanctions targeting regime officials were put into effect “to stop them from moving their stolen assets through the international financial system”.
To date, the United States has placed sanctions on dozens of high-ranking regime officials. These sanctions generally seize any assets that the named individuals may have in the United States, prohibit their entry into the country, and prohibit any U.S. persons or entities form conducting business with them.
In addition to these individualized sanctions, Washington has also restricted the regime’s ability to access international financing by sanctioning transactions involving some Venezuelan government bonds, as well as some transactions involving PDVSA, the state-owned oil company.
Haley Accuses Cabello of Being Drug Trafficker, “Eliminating” Competition
During her speech, Haley also leveled ground-shaking criticism at the vice president of the ruling PSUV party, Diosdado Cabello, and accused him of being a drug trafficker.
Haley said that Cabello is actively involved in the shipping of drugs from Venezuela to Europe, and that he uses the Dominican Republic as a staging area for the illicit substances as they make their way east. Haley also said that Cabello is responsible for “eliminating” competing drug traffickers.
The comments–and in particular the claim that Cabello is directly responsible for deaths–are the most serious that the Trump administration has voiced against him.
Cabello has long been rumoured to be a high ranking member of a drug cartel that operates inside the deepest lawyers of the Maduro regime.
In 2015, the Wall Street Journal published an article in which it revealed that United States authorities were investigating Cabello for his alleged role in drug trafficking operations in the region. Cabello subsequently sued the newspaper for defamation, but lost the case in 2017 after a judge ruled that he did not provide any evidence to establish a case.
Bachelet Agrees to Meet Arreaza
The United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has agreed to meet Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza in Geneva this week. Arreaza is scheduled to speak at a meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council there tomorrow.
A spokesperson for Bachelet’s office said that the meeting will take place at the request of Venezuela.
Bachelet took office this month, and spoke before the Human Rights Council for the first time today. In her speech, she said that the ongoing migrant crises in Venezuela and Nicaragua were clear evidence for the “need to constantly defend human rights”.
Bachelet also said that the Maduro regime has not demonstrated that it is willing to put “authentic measures” in place to hold officials who committed human rights atrocities during the 2017 protests accountable, and that her office continues to receive documentation regarding human rights violations in Venezuela to this day.
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