Venezuela slams U.N. over human rights report

Published in July 6. Translation by Michael Otto. On June 28, President Nicolas Maduro awarded Marco Teruggi the Simon Bolivar National Prize for Journalism, with special mention for defending Venezuela abroad. In addition to printing his articles in Mundo Obrero, Workers World has been translating Teruggi’s coverage since January for U.S. readers.

The existence of two governments in Venezuela is a fiction that has evaporated internationally. It is only maintained by the Donald Trump administration and some right-wing Latin American governments. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, visiting the Vatican, recalled that Juan Guaidó had proclaimed himself “president in charge” before God. Putin added, “But God did not tell us what his reaction to this message was; he did not give us any sign; that’s why I believe we should return to sinful earth and abide by democratic procedures.” Guaidó is no longer what he never was.

In national terms, his theatrics never reached a level needed to even look like he ran the government — in almost six months, Guaidó has failed to gain authority, command or territory. 

That doesn’t mean the final curtain has fallen on his play: On July 5, the anniversary of the day the Declaration of Venezuelan Independence was signed, Guaidó fronted an event in the National Assembly, as if it were a government, and then a demonstration near the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM).

At dawn that same day in Geneva, Switzerland, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet read her report on the situation in Venezuela. Bachelet’s report concluded that Venezuela is ruled by a single government, which, among other things, is responsible for a crisis in health, food and migration, with serious shortcomings in access to justice and the guarantee of human rights.

In Geneva, Venezuelan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs William Castillo responded: “The content of this report is incomprehensible, dominated by a selective and biased vision. It’s a text lacking in scientific rigor, with serious errors in methodology, and seems like a carbon copy of previous reports. It ignores almost all the information provided by the state; it only takes into account information obtained from opposition spokespeople and press sources. Suffice it to say that out of 558 interviews conducted, 460 were conducted outside Venezuela, which represents 82 percent of the opinions expressed in the report.” (La Nación Dominicana, July 6)

Bachelet’s [U.N.] report ignores causes

Castillo also highlighted the report’s omission of the causes of the economic situation: “It ignores the serious impacts that the illegal, criminal and immoral economic blockade is having on the lives of our people. Venezuela does not deny its problems, but any serious effort to address them must consider the structural causes.”

The celebration of the 208th anniversary of Independence Day was marked by an event in the National Constituent Assembly, with a speech by the commander of strategic operations of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), Admiral in Chief Remigio Ceballos, who explained the character of the “multiform (war of) aggression” to which Venezuela is subjected and recognized Nicolás Maduro’s leadership as Commander in Chief of the FANB.

President Maduro, in turn, led the military parade in Caracas, where he reaffirmed the call for dialogue and peace: “With goodwill, we can achieve the political ability to negotiate. We all have to cede something in order to reach agreements, and I call for dialogue because I believe in and love Venezuela.”

The president’s new call for dialogue took place in a scenario where, publicly, the most visible factions of the Venezuelan rightists have announced that they will not resume any kind of contact with the government. Guaidó stated that at the end of Friday’s protest in front of the DGCIM: “The debate is over, Bachelet’s report confirms that this is a dictatorship.” 

The self-appointed “president” gave no details about what an exit without dialogue would look like. Nor did he mention the mobilizations that he claimed would be forthcoming.

Guaidó has demonstrated the paths for the plan without negotiations in recent weeks and months — the attempted military action at dawn on April 30 and the plots involving former soldiers, commissioners and mercenaries that the government uncovered. 

Video footage recorded by intelligence service infiltrators revealed the very agents of the conspiracy as they were brainstorming how to assassinate the president and the governing circle and carry out military assaults at strategic military and political points. This is no new thing in a conflict where, less than a year ago, opposition sectors tried to assassinate the president at a military parade in Caracas using drones loaded with explosives.

Conflict intensifies

The fiction of two presidents no longer exists internationally. The conflict, however, intensifies with right-wing preparations for new assaults. The right announced that Bachelet’s report — which ignores any dimension of  opposition violence, although they produced victims, like the mother of a young man accused of being a Chavista who was burned alive — validates breaking the dialogue and is a springboard for seeking new actions involving force.

As for the blockade, which the report overlooks, the U.S. has announced that it will continue to increase its attacks on both Venezuela and its allies. The latest unilateral measure of force took place July 3 with the sanction of the Cuban company Cubametales by the Office of Foreign Assets Control for trading for oil with Venezuela. 

This measure is added to the long list of theft of assets, blockades of accounts, sanctions against companies, etc., which began years ago and during 2019 increased month-by-month, meeting only the silence of governments and international organizations.

The political climate in Venezuela is complex. Possible types of resolution are not yet on the table, and this week’s events have once again set back what had been publicly achieved between the parties.

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