The United States security council held an emergency meeting today at the request of the United States to discuss the ongoing Venezuelan crisis following Saturday’s violence that left four people dead and dozens of others injured.
Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza accused the Lima Group and the United States of “promoting a coup” against Maduro, and that while the United States if not formally part of the Group, it is running it behind-the-scenes. Arreaza also said that Venezuela “has always wanted” to keep communication channels open, and said that he hoped that U.S. president Donald Trump and Maduro could meet in person.
During his intervention, U.S. special envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said that Washington would put more sanctions into effect to pressure Maduro into leaving power, and that he hoped the Security Council would approve a resolution this week demanding that Venezuela accept humanitarian aid.
The Russian ambassador pointed out that his country sent 7 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Venezuela through the World Health Organization recently, and that the weekend’s attempt was not about humanitarian aid. Rather, the ambassador suggested that if the United States was really interested in delivering aid to Venezuela, it would do so–as Russia did–through United Nations organizations.
The Russian ambassador also pointed out that in the 1980s, the United States government used the cover story of delivering humanitarian aid into Nicaragua to smuggle millions of dollars worth of weapons into the country to arm Contra rebels, who were engaged at that time in a fight against the Sandinistas. Elliot Abrams helped oversee that clandestine operation, and was eventually convicted for lying to congress over his involvement.
The ambassador from the United Kingdom said that the only solution to the Venezuelan crisis is “a democratic transition that leads to free presidential elections”, and stressed that “no one should diminish the suffering of the Venezuelan people”.
German ambassador Chirstoph Heusgen said that the Maduro regime has become “cynical”, and provided as en example that Maduro joyfully danced salsa on television while the repression that left four people dead raged elsewhere. Heusgen also said that the Venezuelan crisis deserves the world’s attention due to its ability to destabilize the region given the exodus of Venezuelans from the country, which Heusgen considers makes the crisis “not an internal matter”.
In his intervention, French ambassador François Delattre said that the international community must “avoid the use of force and violence” in dealing with the Venezuelan crisis, and stressed that the only option should be “a political, peaceful solution”.
Univision Journalists Arrested, Deported
Univision’s Jorge Ramos was briefly detained alongside his team inside the Miraflores Palace last night shortly after the start of an interview with Maduro.
According to Ramos, he was about 17 minutes into the interview with Maduro when he attempted to show the president a video he had recorded “not far from Miraflores” showing a group of people eating trash out of a garbage truck. In the video, the people express their discontent with Maduro.
At that point, Ramos says that Maduro “couldn’t take it anymore” and ordered an end to the interview. Ramos and five other people on his team were detained, and had all of their equipment confiscated.
Univision later shared the video that Ramos attempted to show Maduro during the interview. Below, the video along with a translation:
Ramos: So, tell me something: you’re looking for food in the trash?
Young Man: Yeah. We’re hungry. [Unintelligible] Maduro doesn’t leave this shit.
Man 1: We need a new president, chief, because we can’t live like this.
Ramos: But this is garbage.
Man 1: This is garbage. This is the situation that we’re in. Can you imagine it? We can’t live like this. We need to remove the president. We want to get rid of him. We’re street people, but we want to get rid of the president. We want to get rid of him. We can’t live like this like this, eating garbage. I’m almost 36 years old and this is the first time in my life that I’m doing this, for myself and for my children.
Ramos: How often do you have to do this?
Man 1: Every day. Every day. Because a salary doesn’t buy anything.
Young Man: A salary doesn’t buy any food.
Man 1: I’ll repeat it, I’m 36 and this is the first time in my life, with this government, that I’m eating garbage. Garbage. First time in my life. My name is Jesus. Send this to YouTube, Instagram, wherever. We can’t go on like this. We can’t do this.
Ramos: What would you like to say to Maduro?
Man 1: Maduro, remember that Venezuela is beautiful, and that we’re all Venezuela. Mr. President, you’ll forgive me for saying this, but you’re no good as president. I’m a father, I have a home, but you’re no good as president. You’re no good. I want you to leave the country because you’re no good. We’ve had enough of this president that we have here in Venezuela. We’ve been living in poverty for 20 years. [To Ramos:] Thank you, and I’m sorry [for getting emotional].
Man 2: Excuse me, could you help me buy some bread?
Ramos: What did you get out of the [truck]?
Man 2: Some sweets, a little bit of…
After being released late last night, Ramos and his team were escorted by the authorities to the Simon Bolivar International airport early this morning to be deported.
Below, Ramos walks through the airport on his way out of the country:
Maduro Sits Down with ABC for Interview
Maduro continued his media blitz last night with an interview that appeared on ABC. The interview was contentious at times, with Maduro accusing journalist Tom Llamas of “lying” and of being “just like Trump” at one point during their talk.
Below, part of that exchange:
Llamas: You say that you’re a country of peace, but the U.N. and human rights groups estimate hundreds of people have died because of your administration. They think hundreds of people have died also since you came into power. Why are people that protest you end up either dead or in jail?
Maduro: No human rights organizations has made me responsible for any deaths. You are lying, Tom. Do not lie — you are just like Trump. You are just like Trump.
Llamas: I have the report from the United Nations that says that. More than hundreds.
Maduro: Does it make me, Nicolas Maduro, responsible of assassinating people?
Llamas: It’s your government.
Maduro: No, you have lied, Tom. You have committed an error as a journalist.
Llamas: How did those people die? It’s like 500 people.
Maduro: When one lies and commits an error, one has to recognize it, Tom. You have committed an error, recognize it. What I can tell you is that in Venezuela that is free expression for political opposition mobilizations.
The full text of the interview can be found here.
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