Written speech of Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza: http://mppre.gob.ve/discurso/discurso-arreaza-en-el-consejo-de-seguridad-onu/
Unofficial translation, edited from UN and C-Span translations
Venezuela Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza:
“Thank you, Mr. President. At last we have a chance to speak.
We have a written text, but before that, I wanted to share some thoughts with you. Indeed, we can even thank Mr. Mike Pompeo because in the face of failure at the OAS Organization of American States on the 24th of January, they [the United States] didn’t have enough power to impose a resolution, and they convened a meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations. In fact, we, including President Maduro, thought of appealing to this body to debate not only the case of Venezuela but rather the blatant and gross intervention and gross mechanisms of interference by the United States in our country. We have to say, in this case, the United States is not behind the coup d’etat. It is in advance, it’s in the forefront of the coup d’etat. They give and dictate the orders, not only to the Venezuelan opposition but also to the satellite governments of the United States in the region, and it seems in Europe and other parts of the world.
As proof, we have tweets here from social media. We have appeals to the Bolivarian National Armed Forces to speak out against the legitimate authorities, against the constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro, on the part of Secretary (of State) Mike Pompeo and from Vice President Pence. It was a tweet with a video of Vice President Pence on the 22nd. He in a tweet gave the green light for a coup d’état in Venezuela. And as Under Secretary Rosmary said, a citizen would proclaim himself. No one swore him in nor did any institution. There was no ceremony. It was self-proclaimed — self-proclamation by a member of Paliament at a public rally, at a peaceful public rally, one of many that there’ve been in Venezuela over the past few years.
Where is the legality? I ask you: let’s review the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Read Article 133 word by word, provision by provision, sentence by sentence. Where is the legality? This is internal to our Constitution.
But where is the legality in terms of the fundamental principles of Public International law? Or are we simply setting aside international relations based on international law, and imposing international relations based on force, and instrumentalizing multilateral international organizations to achieve your commission and your goal. If any of you can tell me in which article and in which provision of the United Nations Charter you find the legal basis for the self-proclamation of a man who wasn’t elected by anyone as president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, then we can open the legal debate. I think you won’t be able to do it.
We were also reviewing, because we have to ask ourselves, Since when? Secretary Rex Tillerson, before he was dismissed, and then President Trump himself, himself, here in the General Assembly, members, the first day of the debate before this sacred podium of multi-lateralism, he announced sanctions that are not only coercive unilateral measures which are not based on international law, but he actually, he had the nerve to announce a series of measures against Venezuela in flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter – the sacred charter of multilateralism.
How is it possible that a president that threatened the use of military force – he wasn’t John Bolton who did it; it wasn’t Marco Rubio – it was Donald Trump himself who threatened the use of military force directly against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela – how is it that he wasn’t even challenged by the world’s entities of multilateralism? And that you pretend to sit in judgment on the accused — the republic of Venezuela — because its people and its government have fully complied with its constitution and respected international law. How is that possible? I mean, we can speak for a long time.
Here we have 1911 in Mexico, an invasion
1912, U.S. Marines invade Nicaragua, my dear neighbor here, and they began an occupation that continued until almost 1933; Augusto Cesar Sandino and the Nicaraguan people threw them out.
1916 Dominican Republic
1930 Dominican Republic
Then, the School of the Americas,
In Cuba, 1952
1954, the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala
In 1960 the President of the United States authorized the execution of covert actions on a great scale to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. and after, the Bay of Pigs in 1961
That is to say, we can go on, João Goulart 1964 in Brazil.
In 1965, dear President of the Security Council, how many died in the Dominican Republic by the invasion endorsed by the OAS to overthrow a government that they didn’t agree with, because they didn’t ideologically like the government of the great Dominican that was Juan Bosch?
The Monroe Doctrine. It should be the United States that should be evaluated and subjected to a permanent investigation for its disrespect for international laws, interference, meddling, and invasions, behind the coup d’etats.
Next came the coup d’etat in 1973 against Salvator Allende, then Guatemala as well. In 2002 President George Bush in Venezuela. They denied it but they recognized the dictator Carmona. This has precedents. What is occurring today in Venezuela has a direct precedent.
In 2002 they were behind the coup d’etat. They weren’t as much in the forefront as this time, They recognized Carmona, the dictator, who lasted for 47 hours, and afterward, an investigation by North American experts proved with declassified documents the participation of the United States in that foolhardy attempted coup.
Or 2004 in Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide
Or 2009, in Honduras, that in the beginning, it wasn’t even suspected that the United States was behind it until Hillary Clinton admitted through a book that she had given the orders to overthrow the president of Honduras because she wanted to call a national election.
Meanwhile, other presidents were selected in Central America without the authority of being candidates [or], having lost elections. There were reports from the European Union, from the Organization of American States that said there was fraud, but afterward Donald Trump called. They promised that they would move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and they are recognized not only by Trump but by all the satellite governments in the region.[uncertain translation]
Look, I wanted to show you (holds up chart) the trend in social media just from Twitter (I’m not going to other social media) – the official spokespersons of the United States. See how the trend in January was going up on the 22nd, the 23rd (January 2019), that day they expected a coup and a military uprising that is not considered in Venezuela because the National Bolivarian Armed Forces defend with their life this Constitution. They (the United States government) could neither finance nor extort, nor provoke, nor convince our military to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro. They won’t be able to do it. They won’t be able to do it.
Once again, the United States has taken a false step and which is summed up at once — look, it is incredible — when President Trump tweeted, that was the recognition. It was like the United Nations’ deposit of a recognition of a state. President Trump tweeted that he recognized the member of Parliament as dictator of Venezuela. Automatically, Argentina, Colombia, Chile [followed suit]; that is, they waited for the order so that they could also start recognizing him.
This coup d’etat is too obvious. It is too shameless by all parties. That cannot be accepted by the United Nations. Better still, it must be condemned. I hope to have a meeting of the Security Council to evaluate who was behind this coup d’etat. And it wouldn’t be necessary to have much wisdom because there’s excessive evidence proving it on social media, on the declarations, in the communications. This very day, here comes proof in their own Wall Street Journal, like was last year in September in the New York Times, that showed there were meetings of Venezuelan soldiers who were supposedly going to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, with United States, with United States government officials.
It wasn’t the intelligence agencies of Venezuela, or of Cuba, or of Russia. It was the New York Times and newspapers of Spain. Today it is the Wall Street Journal.
A North American agency examines very clearly information that this member of Parliament traveled to Colombia clandestinely, traveled to the United States, met with officers and these are very clear strategies but not very well executed. It was very harmful. There is much evidence [of involvement by] satellite governments in the region, governments with business, presidents subject to the interests of the United States, subordinates. Not like the dignified governments, the small states of the Caribbean. Many dignified governments that have not yielded to the United States nor have let the United States extort from them nor in the OAS nor in the UN or anywhere else despite public threats even from Vice President Pence or of the Secretary of State or from some congressmen. It is understandable that satellite governments in Latin America could cede their power in this way. But Europe get in line behind the United States? Not so much the United States, but the government of Donald Trump? Europe, giving us 8 days of what?
From where do you obtain equal power to give deadlines or ultimatums to a sovereign nation? Where does such an interventionist action occur? I would say it’s almost infantile.
Why doesn’t President Pedro Sanchez hold elections, as President Nicolás Maduro said yesterday. Or who elected Pedro Sanchez? Hold elections in the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland). Interfere!
Why does President Macron, instead of dedicating himself to the permanent protests of the yellow vests of the French working people, dedicate himself to attacking Venezuela? Today a worker in a yellow vest near the Elisee Palace, and the guards come out practically scared because they are afraid of their people. Dedicate yourselves to your affairs. We do not meddle in your affairs. Respect, comply with the Charter of the United Nations. Respect the self-determination of nations.
Here last year was the candidate Henri Falcon (Venezuelan, in presidential elections of May 20, 2018); Henri Falcon was the president of the electoral campaign of Henrique Capriles (Venezuelan, presidential candidate) in 2012. Henrique Capriles lost with Commander Hugo Chávez. Henri Falcon was the candidate of the year 2018, but as they pressured Henri Falcon to withdraw his candidacy, all the way to presidents of Europe and of course all the spokespeople of the USA, he did not withdraw. But do you know what he did? He came to the United Nations and told Secretary General, Antonio Guterres that an observation by the United Nations in the elections was needed. He did not grant that. Why wasn’t this observation carried out? He even communicated with Federica Mogherini; I myself sent an invitation to Federica Mogherini, to come as observers of the elections in Venezuela. They refused outright. Because already the plan was underway, the process was already clear. Three months before the elections were held, Under Secretary Sullivan was the first to say that those elections would be fraudulent, and then the presidents of Colombia, of Chile, of Europe came to say “we will not recognize the results of the elections.”
When have you seen something like that? Months before the elections.
How many challenges are there of the Venezuelan elections? Go ahead. Show that there was fraud of a single vote in Venezuela. Mr. Duncan said that manual votes were being sold. Venezuela has an electronic voting system, automated. Its accounting is not in Venezuela. The vote is not manual; simply (the machine prints) a voucher to then check with the electronic vote, and in 100% of the cases, the comparison perfectly matches.
The United States wants to build a wall with Mexico. It’s building an ideological wall; A good part of the intercession of Secretary Pompeo today corresponds to the language of the Cold War of Nixon. He is bringing back the Cold War. They are bringing back the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 of which the Liberator Simón Bolívar said in 1829: “The United States seems destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of freedom.” That was a fulfilled prophecy; that is, it was a prediction, because that is what the United States has done.
Do you know how much it has been estimated to have cost Venezuela since the implementation of unilateral coercive measures that are in breach of International Law in Venezuela? In 2017 until December of 2018, the cost to Venezuela is 23 billion dollars, thanks to the blockade, to the persecution against the goods of Venezuela, to undermining our resources. The Venezuelan economy would not be in the problematic situation it is in if it had had these resources. 20 million dollars was offered to the OAS, which they took from us. Nothing more in Euroclear in Belgium, Mr. Ambassador of Belgium, there are 1.2 billion dollars frozen, blocked, Venezuelan gold, assets. We cannot conduct any banking transaction, any banking transaction that passes through New York or London does not happen. It ends up returning the money or freezing the money. Is that just to the Venezuelan nation?
The representative of Russia was very clear here, but the others believe that the blockades do not exist, that it is a lie … these 18, 19 rounds of sanctions against Venezuela don’t exist. I think that reflection has to take place. It is an ideological wall you are constructing against Venezuela.
We support the initiatives of dialogue as at the time was the initiative of the Dominican Republic. It didn’t come out of nowhere. President Nicolás Maduro – allow me to speak in first person- I was appointed Foreign Minister in August of 2017, and two days later, I was meeting at the home of Mr. Miguel Vargas, and afterwards at the Governmental Palace with the president, Danilo Medina, calling the opposition leaders (from Venezuela), calling President Maduro, to accomplish dialogue in Venezuela. And what happened? We reached an agreement. You know it. There is a record that is guarded securely in some archive of the Dominican Republic presidency where he has signed a pre-accord. And when they had to go to sign the agreement, they made President Danilo Medina look like a fool, they made the former president (Spanish, José Luis) Rodriguez Zapatero look like a fool; they made a fool of the foreign ministers they supported, and made their followers in Venezuela ridiculous. And they did not sign the agreement. And strangely enough, Rex Tillerson was in Bogota at the time, and it’s said from a reliable source that the Chief of the Venezuelan delegation, who today is hiding in Colombia, received a telephone call to not sign and to complicate the situation in Venezuela. These are truths, dear companions. Further, let me tell you that what has been discussed here is without a sturdy foundation.
There are many lies that have been said here, and I tell you this with respect, ask the International Monetary Fund about information that Venezuela provided. Those figures do not come close, not even remotely, to the inflation numbers that you have given here today. Ask the Director of the International Monetary Fund. Be a little more rigorous in investigations in order to discuss this in this authoritative international body which is the essential forum for the future, peace and the security of humanity.
But also ask from those 3 million migrants. There is a new migratory situation that we did not have before. It has a lot to do with the economic blockade, has a lot to do with the financial restrictions against Venezuela and with the economic situation in Venezuela, that we do not deny and that we are going to recover from with the nation and with the Economic Recovery Plans that already are underway.
But how many times have we requested data from the governments of Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina? How many times have we told them, send it (the data)? If a Venezuelan leaves by a bridge to Colombia and ends in Chile, how do I know? In these days, do you know what happened? Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno called for brigades to be established to persecute the Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador, and the embassy (from Venezuela in Quito) was filled with Venezuelans. And we help them leave Ecuador because of the xenophobic and racist persecution against them.
In the city of Ibarra in the north of Ecuador and do you know what happened on Wednesday? On the same Wednesday, three planes, including the presidential plane (Venezuelan), went to search for more than 230 Venezuelan migrants. Today three planes were also going because the Embassy was paying for accommodation in hotels, with the difficulty of sending resources due to the blockade to our Diplomatic Missions. And they did not give overflight authorization to these planes that had the humanitarian goal of going to search for Venezuelans who were going to return to their home and their families in the face of persecution.
How are you dealing with this war against Venezuela? We are waiting for the visits of: Mr. Eduardo Stein, which should take place this week. We are waiting for the visit of the former president and friend Michelle Bachelet.
Violence. You say here that “the dictatorship is repressing and killing”. Please study the history of Venezuela in recent years. The insurrectional marches of the opposition with deaths put on by them (the Venezuelan opposition, which) gave rise to and facilitated the coup d’etat in the year 2002, using snipers. Research how many people died in those days, died at truly peaceful demonstrations. Who assassinated them? There are investigations of Venezuelan Court of Justice, the agencies of Venezuelan Citizen Power, the Prosecutor’s Office, which have sovereign authority, which does not need any intervention from any independent body. We will tell the truth about each one of the deceased because Venezuela is respected. I tell you who sponsored the coup on January 23, you were pursuing a tragedy in Venezuela, of deaths, that blood ran through the streets of Caracas, and it did not happen, because measures were taken, despite the fact that in the night, there were outbreaks in the popular sectors of Caracas. Groups of 10, 12, 13 people went to plunder, to destroy private property, and those were situations we prevented. We prevented another tragedy like the one on April 11. Another tragedy happened like that in 2014. Another tragedy like that happened in 2017, when the Venezuelan opposition took to the streets financed by some countries that are sitting here, to overthrow by means of a coup, by means of force, President Chavez at the time, and now President Nicolas Maduro.
We support dialogue initiatives as we support that of Dominican Republic at that time. We support that Mexico, Uruguay and Caricom have expressed their willingness for Venezuelans to sit down with their facilitation and achieve our own way out without any imposed solutions. Here no one is going to give us deadlines nor are they going to tell us if elections should be held or not. The decisions that are made will be made by Venezuelans, those of the opposition and the government, sitting together.
On January 22, the president of the National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, met with this member of Parliament Juan Guaido, to open a channel of dialogue. From there, they reached agreements, and on another day, Mr. Juan Guaido did everything the opposite because, well, he was under pressure. He had Pence’s tweets, Trump’s tweets, all the pressure from his people that what they want to ttigger civil war in Venezuela. You won’t achieve it. The North American presidents call for war when they have domestic problems and wars. Look, President Trump has already repented, has said that Iraq was better off with Saddam Hussein. He has said that Libya was better off with Gadaffi that they overthrew and brutally assassinated and laughed at that assassination, the Secretary of State (American) at the time.
The savagery, the force — that cannot be allowed in today’s world. And the United States is even withdrawing its troops from Syria. What is Venezuela? A war trophy of Mr. Trump? We are not going to give Donald Trump a war in Venezuela. In Venezuela, peace is going to prevail. Stability and understanding will prevail between Venezuelans, despite many of the countries seated here that are pursuing war.
I also wanted to tell you that the deadline Europe is trying to give us, we also remember the Liberator Simon Bolivar in 1818, the first argument he had with an agent of the United States. You remember that the United States did not support the fight for freedom of our countries. Factually, they had already been independent by their own means and winning a war against the British Empire, but when the colonies of South America confronted the Spanish Empire, they declared themselves neutral. Interesting, no? Then afterwards, they not only declared they were neutral but they helped the royalists, the Spaniards clandestinely. And in one of those clandestine aids in the (Rio) Orinoco in Venezuela, they went against the legitimate government of then president Simon Bolivar. They sent boats, United States vessels with ammunition, preparations that were stopped and a controversy arose and the Liberator finally told the agent of the United States: “… it is the same thing for Venezuela to fight against Spain as to fight the whole world if the whole world offends her”. And we can repeat that here today. Fortunately we have great friends. But whoever ill-treats Venezuela will have to deal with the people of Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro, the Communal Councils, the People’s Power standing up, to defend our sovereignty and our integrity.
I want you to read (article of the Venezuelan Constitution) 233 — with this I close — because you have tried to give a constitutional varnish, developed in the laboratories of Washington, of course, to the self-proclamation of this gentleman (Juan Guaido) that even in Venezuela his name is known. These days the president of Paraguay could not pronounce his surname. But let me read article 233:
“The absolute offenses/defects of the President of the Republic would be” … listen … “his death, his resignation or his dismissal decreed by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, his permanent physical or mental incapacity certified by a medical board appointed by the TSJ and with the approval of the National Assembly, the abandonment of his position declared as such by the National Assembly as well as recall by popular vote “… that in Venezuela there is a recall referendum in the middle of the period if the people are not happy; that occurred in 2004 with Commander Hugo Chávez and was ratified … “when an elected president becomes permanently unavailable to serve before the inauguration, a new, direct, and secret universal election will be held within the 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the the new president, the president of the National Assembly will be in charge of the presidency of the Republic “
In Venezuela there was no takeover. In Venezuela there were no elections. If there is a discrepancy of one of the powers — there are five legitimate powers in Venezuela — if there is a disagreement of the National Assembly, well then, go to the other institutions, go to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. But what is this self-proclaiming a Member of Parliament as “interim president” and the governments in the world begin to recognize him? These are serious governments, that have legal departments in the chancelleries, that are attached to this Charter (of the United Nations) and that know the constitutions of the States, recognizing him. You are imposing force against the Law. That is very dangerous for humanity, and we have to stop that today in the United Nations.
I think it is enough with what we have outlined, and we want to tell you that the people of Venezuela are listening to us. And it’s been shown here that Venezuela is not alone and this will continue to be demonstrated in this debate and as demonstrated in other international organizations: the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, which we chair. Venezuela is not alone. And do you know why it is not alone? Because Venezuela is upholding its Constitution and the Charter of the United Nations. We will continue advancing along the path of our democracy. We will not allow anyone to impose on us any decision or any order. The Secretary told them that this member of Parliament “self-proclaimed”. Where is a self-proclamation in the Constitution (of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela)?. I ask them, where? Look for it and show me, and we can debate it.
On behalf of President Nicolas Maduro, on behalf of the Venezuelan public powers, the People’s Power of Venezuela, the communities and community leaders, we want to insist that Venezuela is as the Constitution says: irrevocably free, independent, and no power, however powerful it may be, can dictate to our country its destiny and its steps to follow.
United States Ambassador Elliot Abrams:
I cannot [respond] to every attack that was made on every country here, the insults that were made by calling many countries here satellites.
In fact, it was interesting that every country here that was attacked or criticized was a democracy. Every single one that was criticized was a democracy.
It was just a series of insults that reflected that today. There is a satellite here — that is Venezuela which is unfortunately which has become a satellite of Cuba and Russia.
The regime is hiding and its spokesman is hiding behind the laws and Constitution of Venezuela while imprisoning opponents, preventing free elections, and killing Democrats like Fernando Albay.
This is not about foreign intervention in Venezuela. It is not an attempt to impose result on the Venezuelan people. Democracy never needs to be imposed. It is tyranny that has to be imposed.
This discussion in the council is about the right of the Venezuelan people to direct their own internal affairs and the future of their country democratically. Thank you.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia:
Perhaps I will surprise you, distinguished representative of the United States, but when we discuss certain issues in the Security Council, we never try to force any country to behave as we wish it to behave, as we need, as it is in our interest for it to behave. We always respect the sovereignty of any country, whether it’s a member of the Security Council or whether it speaks in this room.
We respect its own opinions, its own policy. But that policy or those views that correspond to our policy, then we’re happy. If not, we basically respect that any member of the council or any member of the UN can have its own views or positions. It is their sovereign right to have their own foreign policy.
But unfortunately, we know many of, many, many episodes that the country that you represent not only uses its satellite states to promote its own interests but in fact, forces them to be in lock-step with you.
So to discuss who has satellites and who doesn’t, I wouldn’t suggest you get into that. Thank you.
Venezuela Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza:
Now we’re involved in many difficult negotiations for our part, but I would recall that Mr. Abrams represents a tradition that has been tried and duly indicted for similar such attempts in the past, such as the Iran-Contra affair. He is the face of a well-worn path of interfering in democracy. Perhaps a fresher face could have been chosen to have spoken on behalf of the United States of America.
And we see it as being part of the same, parroting the same line, permanent insults leveled against Venezuela – whether there are dictators, drug traffickers, I mean, what are you trying to convince us of?
I think all that these people have to do is all of them focus their attention on Venezuela. Is there nothing else going on in the world other than the one situation in Venezuela? There are other things you could be doing, probably in Venezuela, and we would like to make the point here, bluntly and we would have made it if Pompeo were still here in his face, we make it abundantly clear, we echo a point that President Maduro has made, and it is our intention to establish communication and dialogue with the government of President Trump. That offer stands, and it’s still on the table.
That is what we have sought to do since the very first day of office, since Commandant Chavez took office in February 1999. It’s an approach we’ve attempted to continue since President Maduro took the reins of power. Either the response to our offer of dialogue has been blockade, prosecution, persecution, sanctions, violence, aggression, insults, interventions, interference, and now, this attempted coup d’etat. To date, despite all these insults that we have suffered, that offer still stands on the table. We stand ready to dialogue to keep the peace if you would treat us as civilized partners and equals as indicated in the charter of the United Nations we all have to respect and uphold.