Thu, 21 Nov 2019

U.S. calls on UN to oust Maduro and recognise challenger

By Jay Jackson, Mexico City News.Net
11 Apr 2019, 09:46 GMT+10

<p>CARACAS, Venezuela - The UN Security Security remains stalemated by veto-wielding members Russia and the United States.</p><p>The council has been powerless since the start of the year when the crisis gripping the country escalated following elections in January.</p><p>Over a month after two competing resolutions on Venezuela&nbsp;<a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/02/1033832">failed to pass</a>, the UN Security Council met on Wednesday to discuss the &quot;very real humanitarian problem&quot; facing the country, where close to 7 million people are in dire need of aid, and some 5,000 people continue to flee across borders every day.</p><p>In January Juan&nbsp;Guaid&oacute;, head of the country&rsquo;s National Assembly, challenged the legitimacy of the sitting President Nicol&aacute;s Maduro, in power since 2013 and sworn in again for a second term in January, following an election process disputed by many in opposition.&nbsp;</p><p>Wednesday&#39;s meeting was the fourth meeting of the Security Council on Venezuela, since the first one took place on 26 January. With both Russian and United States draft resolutions failing to pass&nbsp;in February, US Vice-President Mike Pence attended the meeting, calling on the UN to revoke the credentials of President Maduro, and recognize his challenger. But Russian Ambassador Vassily&nbsp;Nebenzia, said the US was looking to install its own &quot;pawn&quot;, describing the US effort as a &quot;lawless, thuggish violation of international law&quot;.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Defending the US position, Vice-President Pence said&nbsp;that the United States had simply&nbsp;been&nbsp;&quot;standing with the people of Venezuela&quot; who have been &quot;devastated by the Maduro regime&quot;,&nbsp;by positioning humanitarian cargo at the border and by funding humanitarian operations.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>He&nbsp;said&nbsp;that &quot;all options are on the table&quot;&nbsp;for resolving the crisis, stating that the time &quot;is up&quot;&nbsp;for Mr. Maduro. Mr. Pence&nbsp;announced that the US&nbsp;was&nbsp;preparing a&nbsp;Security&nbsp;Council&nbsp;resolution &quot;recognizing the legitimacy of Juan&nbsp;Guaid&oacute;&quot; and he asked all UN Member States&nbsp;for their support, beyond the several dozen countries which have already done so since the beginning of the year.&nbsp;</p><p>The Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Samuel Moncada responded by stressing that Venezuela has suffered&nbsp;under the weight of international sanctions and asset freezes.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;If it was true that the Venezuelan Government is killing its own people, then why is this group of countries doing everything it can to increase the suffering?&quot; he asked, stating that the emphasis placed by the US on humanitarian needs in Venezuela&nbsp;was&nbsp;merely a &quot;pretext of foreign military intervention&quot; and &quot;calculated cruelty.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;There is a very real humanitarian problem in Venezuela,&quot;&nbsp;<a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/venezuela-bolivarian-republic/under-secretary-general-humanitarian-affairs-and-emergency">said</a>&nbsp;Mark&nbsp;Lowcock, the UN humanitarian chief on Wednesday. &quot;We estimate that&nbsp;7&nbsp;million people in Venezuela need humanitarian assistance. That is some 25 per cent of the&nbsp;population,&quot;&nbsp;he added,&nbsp;noting&nbsp;that the situation further deteriorated recently given the&nbsp;&quot;recurrent widespread power outages&quot;, which have hampered the capacity&nbsp;to deliver&nbsp;many services, including water and sewage systems,&nbsp;as well as&nbsp;medical care.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;The context is a severe and continuing economic contraction, with associated dramatic increases in inflation, on a scale seen in few if any other countries around the world in recent years,&quot; Mr.&nbsp;Lowcock&nbsp;explained, adding that &quot;The scale of need is significant and growing.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>The UN&rsquo;s head of humanitarian affairs went on to present some&nbsp;key figures:&nbsp;</p><p>- 3.7 million are believed to have suffered from undernourishment in 2018.&nbsp;</p><p>- 2.8 million people are estimated to need health assistance.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>- 400,000 cases of malaria were recorded in 2017, a 70 per cent increase from 2016.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>- 17 per cent of people living in poverty have no access to safe&nbsp;water, or&nbsp;receive it only once a fortnight.&nbsp;</p><p>- 2.7 million&nbsp;vulnerable&nbsp;people in the&nbsp;country need of protection assistance.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The United Nations has released $9 million from its emergency response fund, the&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="https://cerf.un.org/">CERF</a>, and has almost doubled ithe&nbsp;number of&nbsp;staff&nbsp;in the country, from 210&nbsp;to 400.&nbsp;</p><p>Dr. Kathleen Page, a professor at Johns Hopkins University&rsquo;s School of Medicine, also briefed the Council based on recent findings from Human Rights Watch. She said the country&nbsp;was&nbsp;facing a deep health-care crisis, with a measles epidemic that could stand at 9,300 cases, and a diphtheria outbreak that could have affected as many as 2,500 people.&nbsp;</p><p>Regarding&nbsp;the situation of migrants&nbsp;and&nbsp;refugees outside the country,&nbsp;Eduardo Stein, the&nbsp;Joint Special Representative&nbsp;of the UN refugee and migration agencies (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.unhcr.org/">UNHCR</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="https://www.iom.int/">IOM</a>)&nbsp;described&nbsp;the current&nbsp;&quot;population&nbsp;outflow&quot;&nbsp;as &quot;unparalleled in the modern history of the region.&quot;&nbsp;There&nbsp;are currently 3.7 million&nbsp;Venezuelans&nbsp;living&nbsp;outside of their country;four in 5 of them&nbsp;left&nbsp;after&nbsp;2015.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Last year Venezuelans left the country at a net rate of 5,000 per day and they continue to&nbsp;leave the&nbsp;country despite recent border closures on the Venezuelan side. If the trends in&nbsp;2019 continue, we estimate that the total number of Venezuelans outside the country will&nbsp;exceed 5 million by the end of the year,&quot; he warned.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>He listed some of the factors that are pushing people to&nbsp;leave,&nbsp;sometimes under &quot;very dangerous conditions&quot;: insecurity and violence; lack of access to food, medicine and essential services; loss of income and lack of effective national protection systems.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>As more&nbsp;than 20 countries&nbsp;are&nbsp;affected by these population movements, the Special Representative insisted on the importance of a harmonized multilateral&nbsp;approach regarding reception conditions,&nbsp;stay requirements,&nbsp;services offered by receiving countries, efforts for cultural&nbsp;integration,&nbsp;and&nbsp;access to rights and legal documentation.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Meetings&nbsp;to address these key issues&nbsp;have been taking&nbsp;place in Ecuador,&nbsp;with the participation of a dozen countries, several&nbsp;UN agencies, international cooperation agencies and financial&nbsp;organisations. Argentina and Paraguay have agreed to host the process hereon after.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Despite these efforts, national capacities are increasingly strained, in some cases with the&nbsp;risk of denial of entry or access to regular migration schemes,&quot; said Mr. Stein.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

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