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      Jorge Arreaza, Foreign Minister of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
      Speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council
      February 26,2019 New York City

      Good morning, thank you very much, on behalf of the Government of President Nicolas Maduro, the Government of Venezuela, thank you for participating in the United Nations Human Rights Council.

      Today is an important day for Venezuela. 30 years ago, on a day like today, our country was witness and victim of a violation of human rights with the most fatalities of any occurrence in Venezuelan history during the 20th century, it was during the first mass general social protest against neoliberalism. In 1989, thousands, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans went to the streets to raise their voices against the neoliberal package imposed on the people of Venezuela, and the repression came not only from police – I wish it would have only been the police – instead of the army and the former armed forces of Venezuela who acted as a colonial occupation army. It was terrible, many believe there were 3,000 or 4,000 dead, in only 48 hours, the exact number is not known. Even today, 30 years later, we are still locating the skeletons and the remains of many Venezuelans who protested in Caracas and in the main cities of the country on those days.

      We also came here today to denounce what we have been denouncing since 2015 at this council – 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and today 2019 – the aggression against Venezuela primarily by the United States Government and the Trump administration which is deepening and has become much more intense. There is a blockade against Venezuela, a blockade on its transactions, a blockade on its resources. A robbery, an assault on the resources, assets, and gold of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which belongs to the people of Venezuela for healthcare, infrastructure, for production. It’s cost $30 billion from 2017 until December of 2018, plus the seizure of our oil company Citgo.

      There are companies that refuse to work with Venezuela, in fear that they will also be sanctioned. Suppliers are afraid and unwilling to work with Venezuela, and we have been designing other routes with allied countries in order to satisfy the needs of the Venezuelan people, but it is very difficult.

      This Human Rights Council should raise its voice, because the blockade against Venezuela – similar to the blockade against Cuba, as blockades against any country and unilateral coercive measures – violate the Charter of the United Nations, as well as violating the fundamental principles of coexistence among States and peoples of the world.

      Enough of such aggression. We must also say that there has been in recent days, false flag operations. Unfortunately organised once again by the United States Government with our brothers from Colombia, volunteering its territory for aggressions against Venezuela. Trying to force “humanitarian aid” – we said it here, again in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 – the excuse or pretext of humanitarian crisis is to prepare for an intervention in my country.

      From the United States, Mr. Pence, Mr. Trump say that they will not rule out military intervention. They are in violation of the Charter of the United Nations, article 2, paragraph 4. This Council and the institutions of the United Nations must speak out. They did not say this a year ago, they said it two days ago.

      Last Saturday there was an aggression against my country from Colombian territory. Gentlemen who run this worthy Council, Venezuela is willing to work with the United Nations to receive all humanitarian assistance and humanitarian technical assistance and has been doing so with different United Nations agencies, but not by force.

      Or is it that perhaps we don’t remember in Latin America what took place in Nicaragua? Or is it that we don’t remember the socalled ‘humanitarian crisis’ of the year 1965 in Dominican Republic? Behind four boxes of medicines, six boxes of food, and a few nurses and doctors, entered eight thousand U.S. marines who toppled the Government of President Juan Bosch.

      The history of Latin America is very rich, we cannot be confused at a historic moment like this. The Government of President Maduro has opted for dialogue and yet the Government of President Maduro is always blamed. We are waiting for the Venezuelan political opposition to sit and talk, but they don’t because they follow instructions.

      I just wanted to briefly illustrate, for example, that last Saturday these criminals in Colombian territory, say that Venezuelans and Colombians in Colombian territory, attacked our security forces and wounded Venezuelan military and police personnel by hundreds.

      They used the emblem of the International Red Cross without any authorization, which was denounced by the Red Cross and their Committee. Or how they burned “humanitarian aid” with Molotov cocktails. Then they claimed it was the tear-gas bombs of President Nicolas Maduro’s Government, when in reality our Bolivarian national armed forces reacted with a measured response, with prudence, and using progressive methods of force to avoid tragedy that day, because the necropolitics of the United States intended for there to be deaths so that they could then accuse the regime and accuse President Maduro.

      Here is Mike Pence, ‘all options are on the table, we do not rule out a military intervention.’

      Here is John Bolton, ‘the Venezuelan military have to rebel against Maduro or there will be more sanctions and more isolation.’

      Here is Marco Rubio, look at this photo, I ask you to look at this photo. After tweeting 40 times against the Government of Venezuela, Mr. Marco Rubio here puts photos of former President General Muamar al Gaddafi and after he was killed. This is a message, this is a threat of death against a President, against a head of State. Who is doing something from United Nations to stop it?

      Here even Mr. Deputy Juan Guaidó, who proclaimed himself in a public square the supposed President of Venezuela, and said Saturday that, “Today’s events are forcing me to make a decision, to tell the international community in a formal manner that we must have all options open to achieve the liberation of this nation which is fighting and he will continue to fight.” What are you saying there? That you want the United States to militarily invade to Venezuela? This cannot be accepted by the United Nations under any circumstance.

      We want finally, since we know that time is valuable, to reaffirm the invitation which last November President Nicolas Maduro made to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Michelle Bachelet, to visit Venezuela. We are ready to receive her so she can come to Venezuela with absolute freedom so she can see the reality of Venezuela and the effects of the blockade, the sanctions. Just as last year we saw the report of the Special Rapporteur Specialist on Democratic and Equitable Order, in which they made very clear the effects of the sanctions, and even suggested that Venezuela could take the United States before the Criminal Court International about the harmful effects of their blockade of Venezuela.

      But also, the expert Lord Idrís Jazairi, has said that, “Sanctions that have the effect of leading to starvation and medical shortages, are not the response to the situation in Venezuela”. The expert also said that, “I am especially concerned to hear reports that these sanctions are aimed at changing the government of Venezuela. Conversion, whether military or economic should never be used to look for a change of Government in a sovereign State. The use of sanctions by outside powers to overthrow an elected Government is in violation of all norms of international law.” So we return to make our denunciation and also to propose the path to dialogue. Dialogue with the United States. Yes, why not? Between President Nicolas Maduro and President Donald Trump, who could meet, acknowledge the disagreements, work on the agreements, and then the dialogue between Venezuelans.

      Yesterday we demanded at a meeting of the Security Council, which was by convened United States to discuss the case of Venezuela, we demanded that the United States delegation simply say that “they support the Charter of the United Nations in article 2.4 and that they are not in favour of the use of force or the threat against Venezuela.” And they were not capable of doing it, because they do not respect the Charter of the United Nations, because they do not respect international law. They walked out of the Council, and we do not understand why they are members of the United Nations. It is here where we need to act, where we formed a group of countries, 60 delegations at the last meeting, to protect peace and international law. There are countries on five continents which came together not just to protect Venezuela, but any people in the world that is threatened, especially with military force by the great powers of this world.

      We believe that the United Nations can do much for bring together the sides in Venezuela. We believe that you have to denounce the aggression against Venezuela and that we have to stop this war. I hope I do not have to come here next year to speak here of the victims of war against my country, of the blood which was spilled from Venezuelans, of the blood that was spilled by US Marines in Venezuela, because Venezuela know how to resist, but it is the last thing that we want for our country.

      Making this denunciation, extremely grateful for the attention, and in homage to the victims of three thousand, four thousand, five thousand victims which died 30 years ago in my country. I extend them an embrace to them from the Bolivarian people of Venezuela. Thank you very much.

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