Speech by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza before the UN Security Council
We would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Pompeo who, having failed to gain enough support for the imposition of a resolution on Thursday, January 24th within the Organization of American States (OAS), came up with the idea of calling this meeting in the United Nations (UN) Security Council. We and President Maduro were also thinking on the idea to call on this organization to debate not the situation of Venezuela but the vulgar intervention and mechanisms of interference of the United States in our country. We must highlight that in this case the United States are not behind the coup d’état. Actually, they are leading the coup d’état. They are at the forefront of the coup d’état. They give orders not only to the Venezuelan opposition but also to satellite governments of the Unites States in the region and it seems that in Europe and other regions as well. We refer to the evidence. There are tweets and posts in the social networks in which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice-President Mike Pence call on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces to adopt a position contrary to the legitimate authorities; meaning, the Constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro. We are talking about a tweet displaying a video of Vice-President Pence on January 22nd, giving orders to perform the coup d’état in Venezuela and – as Assistant Secretary Rosmary said – the self-proclamation of a citizen. However, this citizen was not sworn by anybody or institution. There was no reliability; no ceremony. It was the self-proclamation of a deputy in front of a crowd, during one of the many pacific protests performed in Venezuela during last years. Let us see why this act is illegal. Let us revise the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and read its Article 233, word by word, provision by provision and sentence by sentence. Such self-proclamation is illegal regarding our internal legal order, and the fundamental principles of public international law. So, are we neglecting the international relations based on international law? Are we imposing a new kind of international relations based on violence and using multilateral organizations in order to achieve such purpose? If any of you show me the UN Charter article and provision providing the legal bases for the self-proclamation of a person who was not elected as president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, then we will launch the legal debate. I think that you will not success. Before being dismissed, Secretary Rex Tillerson was the first to announce unilateral coercive measures that not only are unattached to international law, but also flagrantly violate the Charter of the United Nations – sacred letter of multilateralism – the first day of the debate before the sacred podium of multilateralism. Then, President Trump himself announced the same measures, before this General Assembly. We wonder how long this situation will last. It is unacceptable that a president who threatened to use military power (it was neither Jhon Bolton, nor Marco Rubio; it was Donald Trump himself who threatened to use military power directly against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) had not been questioned by the world multilateral bodies; instead, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been placed in the dock just because its people and government have strictly complied with the Constitution and respected International Law. Let us take a look back through history. 1911: Mexico is invaded; 1912: Nicaragua, our dear comrade, is invaded by the US Marines; after that, an occupation starts and remains almost continuously until 1933 when it was forced out by Augusto César Sandino and the Nicaraguan people; 1914: Mexico; 1915: Haiti, 1916: Dominican Republic; 1918: Panama; 1924: Honduras; 1925: Panama; 1926: Nicaragua; 1930: Dominican Republic; 1933: Nicaragua; 1941: Panama; 1952: the School of the Americas, in Cuba; 1954: the overthrow of Jacobo Árbenz in Guatemala; 1956: Nicaragua. 1960: the President of the United States orders to conduct covert actions at large-scale to overthrow the Fidel Castro’s government. 1961: the invasion of Playa Girón. 1964: the overthrow of João Goulart, in Brazil. 1965: dear president of the Security Council, I ask you, how many deaths were left in the Dominican Republic by the OAS-backed invasion to overthrow the government of a great Dominican like Juan Boch, just for not being in line with the US interests and for ideological reasons? The Monroe Doctrine The United States should be the one to be evaluated and subjected to permanent assessment for its disrespect towards international law; for intrusion, interference and invasions behind the coups. 1973: coup d’état against President Salvador Allende; then, Guatemala. In Venezuela, during the 2002 coup d’état, the US recognized Dictator Carmona, although President George Bush denied having to do so. The ongoing coup d’état in Venezuela has a direct precedent. In 2002, the US was behind the coup d’état, not to the same extend as in this opportunity, though. They recognized Carmona’s dictatorship, which lasted 47 hours. In this light, an investigation by North American experts based on declassified documents showed US participation. 2004: Haiti; 2009: Honduras. Regarding this last case, at the beginning, the United States seemed not to be involved until 2014 when Hillary Clinton effectively recognized – according to a publication – having directly ordered to overthrow the President of Honduras because he wanted to call the people to convene a Constituent Assembly. Other presidents in Central America, despite lacking the qualities a candidate should have or having lost the elections – according to reports by European Union and OAS elections were fraudulent- were proclaimed as presidents after promising Donald Trump to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They were recognized not only by Trump but also by all satellite governments of the region. Since the media prefer to follow Twitter (not to mention other social networks), I think they should analyze U.S. government official spokespeople’s trend and how such trend increased on January 22 and 23. These officials were expecting a coup, a military uprising. However, that will not occur in Venezuela because the Bolivarian National Armed Force defends the Constitution with the life. They were unable to persuade our military to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro by paying, extorting or instigating them. They could not do it and will not! Once more, the US government and those who immediately joined it have made a faux pas. It is unbelievable! Immediately after President Trump tweeted he recognized this Representative as the dictator of Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia and Chile did the same. We can say they were waiting for the order so as to express their own recognition as if they were expressing recognition of a State before the United Nations. It is something extremely obvious; this coup d’état is too blatant, and cannot be accepted by the United Nations. It should be condemned, instead. If the Security Council convened a meeting to judge those who were backing this coup d’état, not much assessment would be needed. There is abundant evidence in social networks, statements and official communiqués. Last year, in September, the New Times demonstrated that meetings were held between Venezuelan military and U.S. government officials, who allegedly had a plan to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro). Evidence was published by the New York Times and other newspapers from Spain, but not Russian, Cuban or Venezuelan intelligence agencies. Today, as the NYT did last year, the Wall Street Journal shows the missing piece of this coup plot: the self-proclamation. According to an U.S. news agency, this Representative clandestinely travelled to Colombia, then to the United States to meet with officials. The strategies were very well plotted, but too crude. They did it very bad, too evident, with the support of the US satellite governments in the region, ruled by businessmen presidents who are subordinates to the Unites States interests. This is not the case of decent governments of small Caribbean States. Many dignified governments have not ceded or allowed themselves to be extorted by the United States, the OAS or the UN, despite public threats from Vice President Pence or the Secretary of State or some congressmen. We could understand that the satellite governments of Latin America may cede to pressures; but, seeing a Europe following Donald Trump’s orders is unbelievable. Europe is giving us eight days of what? What makes they think that they have the power to give a sovereign people deadlines or ultimatum? How did they come up with this interfering action? I would say it is even a childish attitude. Why does not President Pedro Sanchez make elections as suggested yesterday by President Nicolas Maduro? Who chose Pedro Sanchez? Elections should be held in the United Kingdom. You should do it! President Macron should care about the permanent protests by the yellow vests and the French working people and stop attacking Venezuela? If they see a worker in a yellow vest near the Elysée Palace, the guards come out almost scared because the government fears their people; care about your affairs! We do not meddle in your affairs. Show some respect! Comply with the Charter of the United Nations and respect the self-determination of the peoples! Candidate Henri Falcón came here last year. He was Henrique Capriles’ campaign president in 2012 electoral process. Henrique Capriles lost against Commander Hugo Chavez. Henri Falcon was the candidate in 2018 and was strongly pressured by presidents from Europe and USA spokesmen in order for him to withdraw his candidacy; he did not do it. However, he came to the United Nations and asked Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to carry out an observation of the elections; it was not done. Why? He [Falcon] even contacted Federica Mogherini. I personally invited Federica Mogherini to be an observer in the Venezuelan elections, but she absolutely refused because the plan was already underway; the process was already clear. Three months before the elections, assistant secretary Sullivan was the first to say that those elections would be fraudulent. Then, presidents of Colombia, Chile and Europe said “we will not recognize the results of the elections” months before they were held. Something never seen! In Venezuela elections have never been challenged. Try to show at least one fraudulent vote in Venezuela. According to Mr. Duncan, manual votes were sold in Venezuela. However, voting is exerted electronically, automated, including the counting of votes. The vote is not manual. Vouchers are compared to the electronic vote and 100% of comparisons always match perfectly. The United States wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. Regarding Venezuela, they are building an ideological wall. Today, much of the statement by Secretary Pompeo repeats Nixon’s Cold War discourse. They are recreating the Cold War. They are repeating the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. That is why the Liberator Simon Bolívar said in 1829: “The United States seems destined by providence to plague the America of misery in the name of freedom”. Prophesy was fulfilled. It was a prediction. That is exactly what United States has done. According to estimates, since the coercive and illegal measures began to be applied in Venezuela, damage from 2017 to December 2018 is 23,000 million dollars, thanks to the blockade, to the persecution against Venezuela’s goods, against our resources. The Venezuelan economy would not be facing the serious current situation if we had such resources. The 20 million dollars offered to the OAS have been taken from us. Mr. Ambassador of Belgium, 1,200 million dollars, apart from gold and other assets are dammed, blocked only in Euroclear. We cannot make any transactions. Every banking transaction made in New York or London is stopped, the money being returned or blocked. This is unfair for the Venezuelan people. The representative of Russia was very clear. However, the others believe that blockades do not happen. Those 18 or 19 rounds of sanctions against Venezuela are unreal? Do they not happen? I think it is necessary to think about it: it is an ideological wall what they are building against Venezuela. We support dialogue initiatives, as the initiative of the Dominican Republic, which did not come out of the blue. In August of 2017 – let me now speak in the first person- President Nicolás Maduro appointed me as Foreign Minister. Two days later, I had a meeting in your house with you, Mr. Miguel Vargas, and then at the Government Palace with President Danilo Medina, calling on the opposition leaders and President Maduro to carry out the dialogue in Venezuela. In that opportunity, we reached an agreement. A record must be stored in some file of the Presidency of the Dominican Republic containing a signed pre-agreement. However, the opposition did not sign the agreement ridiculing President Danilo Medina, former President Rodriguez Zapatero, foreign ministers who supported the dialogue and their followers in Venezuela. According to reliable sources, the head of the Venezuelan opposition delegation (who is now a refugee in Colombia) received a call ordering not to sign with the purpose of complicating the situation in Venezuela. These are the truths, dear colleagues. Furthermore, let me tell you with all respect that things some of you have said today have no foundation; many lies have been said. You should ask the Director of International Monetary Fund about the inflation data delivered by Venezuela. That data does not even come closer to the inflation figures you have given here today. The investigations presented by you today before such an important forum for the future, peace and security of humanity like this should be more rigorous. You should ask about those three million migrants. The new migratory situation, which was unknown for us, is much related to the blockade, the financial persecution against Venezuela and the economic situation. We do not deny such situation and it will be surmounted with the support of the people and the Economic Recovery, Growth and Prosperity Programs that are in progress. We have requested data on migration to the governments of Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina many times. We cannot know when a Venezuelan citizen goes over the bridge to Colombia or arrives in Chile because we have not received such information. A few days ago, the president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, called to create brigades to chase Venezuelan immigrants in his country. Then, lots of compatriots filled our embassy asking for help to leave Ecuador because of the xenophobic and racist persecution against them. You all know what happened in the city of Ibarra, Northern Ecuador. Last Wednesday, three airplanes (including the Presidential airplane) flew to bring more than 230 Venezuelan immigrants. Today, three airplanes were ready to fly again because the Embassy was paying for hotel accommodation (which is difficult since the blockade impedes to send resources to our Diplomatic Missions). However, overflight permission was not given to our airplanes which, for humanitarian purposes, were dedicated to bring Venezuelans back to their homes with their families due to the persecution. What is this war against Venezuela about? We are awaiting the visits of Sr. Eduardo Stein and former president and friend, Michelle Bachelet, which are about to be arranged this week. Regarding violence, you denounce a “dictatorship that is repressing and killing”. If you studied the history of Venezuela during the last years you would realize that in 2002 the insurrectional march of the opposition – leaving deaths caused by the march plotters through snipers – facilitated the coup d’état that same year. How many people died these days? Did they die in truly peaceful marches? It is up to the Venezuelan Justice, the Venezuelan Citizen power, the Prosecutor’s Office – which is sovereign and independent – to conduct the research to determine who killed those peoples; so, we cannot allow any intervention by foreign organizations. It is up to us to say the truth about every death. In this light, Venezuela demands respect. You (I refer to all those involved in the coup, January 23rd) were looking for a tragedy in Venezuela, deaths, bloodshed in the streets of Caracas, but it did not occur due to the measures taken, despite hotbeds of violence took place in popular sectors of Caracas. Groups of 10, 12 or 13 people looted and destroyed private property; however, we prevented situations that could become a tragedy as happened in April 11th, 2002, in 2014 and 2017. In these cases, the Venezuelan opposition – financed by some countries that are here – went to the streets with the solely purpose of overthrowing through a coup d’état, by force, President Chavez and President Nicolas Maduro. We support dialogue initiatives just as we did in Dominican Republic. We support the will of Mexico, Uruguay and CARICOM to facilitate such dialogue in order for us to reach a settlement by ourselves and without impositions. No one has the right to set deadlines or telling us if elections will be done or not. Decisions will only be made by Venezuelans together with the opposition and the government. On January 22nd, the President of the National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello and Mr. Deputy Juan Guaido had a meeting to open a channel for dialogue and brought about compromises. Next day, however, Mr. Guaido did the opposite. He was under pressure: Pence’s, Trump’s and his colleagues’ tweets, who really want to lead Venezuela towards a civil war. They will not make it! American Presidents appeal to war when they have governability problems. Regarding war, President Trump regretted Irak’s invasion. According to him, Iraq was better with Sadam Hussein; and Libia with Gaddafi, who was overthrown and brutally killed and they laughed about it (former Secretary of State). Savagery and force cannot be allowed in today’s world; In fact, they are withdrawing their troops from Siria. But, is Venezuela Mr. Trump’s war trophy? We are not going to allow Donald Trump to conduct a war in Venezuela; peace, stability and understanding shall prevail in Venezuela, despite many of the countries here today are trying to trigger a war. Regarding the deadline that Europe is trying to set, Let us recall Liberator Simon Bolivar in 1818 and the first controversy he had with a U.S. agent. Remember that the United Sates did not support the fight for freedom in our countries. In fact, they became independent by their own and by winning a war to the British Empire. But when the South American colonies confronted the Spanish empire, the US adopted a neutral position. Interesting, isn’t it? Moreover, they clandestinely helped the realists and the Spaniards. During one of those clandestine aids in the Orinoco River, in Venezuela, despite the decrees by the legitimate government of President Simon Bolivar, some ships (U.S. ships) with ammunition and supplies were arrested causing a controversy. Finally, the Liberator told the U.S. agent, “It is the same for Venezuela fighting against Spain than fighting against the whole world if the whole world offends it.” Today, we can say so again. Fortunately, we have great friends; but, whoever offends Venezuela will have to deal with the Venezuelan people, President Nicolas Maduro, the Community Councils and the people’s power that shall defend our sovereignty and our integrity. A self-proclamation by a man whose name still sounds weird to Venezuelans and an attempt which has been for sure elaborated in Washington’s laboratories have been given a constitutional veneer. So, let me please to read article 233: The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice and with the approval of the National Assembly; the abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; as well as the popular revocation of his mandate. It should be noted that recall referendum in Venezuela may be held in the middle of the term if the people are not happy, as happened in 2004 with Commander Hugo Chavez (who was ratified). When an elected president becomes permanently unavailable to serve before inauguration takes place, a new, universal, direct and secret election shall be held within 30 consecutive days. While the new president is being elected and takes inauguration, the president of National Assembly shall take charge of the presidency of the republic. The above was not the case in Venezuela. Instead, an electoral process was held and President Maduro inaugurated. There five legitimate powers in Venezuela. In case of any discrepancy in one of them – such is the case of the National Assembly – other institutions must be called; for example the Supreme Court of Justice. Therefore, a Mr. Deputy cannot proclaim himself as “interim president” and be recognized by governments in the world. By recognizing him, allegedly responsible governments, having legal departments in their Foreign Ministers, attached to this Charter and knowing the constitutions of the States, are imposing the force on the right. And this is dangerous for humanity, so we have to stop it now in the United Nations. I think what we have outlined is enough. We want to tell the people of Venezuela who is listening to us that, today, it has been demonstrated that Venezuela is not alone and we will continue demonstrating throughout this debate, as demonstrated in other international organizations (for example, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries that we chair), that Venezuela is not alone. You know why? Because Venezuela is attached to its Constitution and the Charter of the United Nations. We will continue walking on the path of our democracy. We will not let anyone to impose any decision or order on us. The US Deputy Secretary told you that this deputy was self-proclaimed. Then, I ask you, is self-proclamation provided in this Constitution? Where? Look for it and show it to me and then we can open the debate. On behalf of President Nicolás Maduro, the public authorities of Venezuela, the People’s Power of Venezuela, Communes and Communal Councils, we want to insist that Venezuela is, as provided in the Constitution: irrevocably free and independent and no power – no matter how powerful it may is – shall dictate our country’s destiny and steps to follow. Thank you very much.