All you need to know about Maduro’s speech at the UNHRC

Ana Zárraga watched Maduro’s speech at the UN Human Rights Council so you don’t have to.


The UN Human Rights Council session is packed and I wonder why. Is it because everyone in the room was expecting to pick up some crumbs on the news that Maduro’s Godson and nephew were caught by the DEA yesterday conspiring to smuggle 800kg of cocaine through Haiti? is it because the Worker’s President has a many groupies in the UN? Or is it because -as my UN colleague says- peeps in Geneva get overly excited whenever a President is in town?  – We will never know.

Maduro was 45 minutes late for his own meeting and the live-updates on his whereabouts suggested that his plane from Saudi Arabia was delayed, and not, ehm, that he had any kind of “personal business” to deal with.

From early on this morning, human rights groups had been gathering around the building in protest, and the NGO UN Watch held a press conference imploring delegates to boycott Maduros’ session.

These special meetings in the UN are uncommon and dull, as normally only the person that requests the meeting gets to speak. Yes, it means that Nicolas had free rein to whitewash any human rights abuses in the country without having to answer questions or comments from others. Like an En Contacto weekly radio show, but broadcast though international media.

It didn’t go quite like that.

In an uncommon move, the UN HRC High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, took the floor, introduced Nicolas and welcomed Venezuela as a UNHRC re-elected member.

But this time around this speech wasn’t un saludo a la bandera.

The High Commissioner went ahead and said how dreadful the situation of human rights is in Maduro-land. He mentioned Leopoldo López, mentioned la Judge Afiuni, the Colombian border crisis, the attacks against human rights defenders, the lack of independence of our judiciary, and closed by saying how Venezuela has failed – blasphemy alert! – to fight poverty in the country. 

Nicolás, on the other hand, was a joke. He failed to address the concerns of the Commissioner, used the floor to spout non-sense about every topic under the sun, to the point of angering some delegates: the “indigenous Holocaust”, the April coup d’État, the constituyente, the plight of Palestinian people and the refugee crisis in Europe.

The cherry on top? He smeared the work of the Human Rights Council en su propia casa. Bueno, we sort of agree on that one.

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  1. Geneva? A speech? Don’t be ridiculous. He went there to verify that all of Venezuela’s assets are safely tucked-away in numbered accounts. If the Maduro’s didn’t lose too much money in that Andorran bank, perhaps they can now afford that chalet in Gstaad, not too far from Geneva, which just came onto the market.

    • Gstaad? who are you kidding? maduro is not that crowd. he is more of a southern florida guy but that is not in the cards for him. look for him in ten years in some small town in ecuador, bolivia or a central american country that is willing to ignore extradition requests for the right price.

  2. I’ve just finished repainting the shed at the bottom of the garden. There’s a nice hedge along two sides guaranteeing privacy. $1,000,000 per month, no questions asked. Cash only.

    • Thank you for your offer. But my clients need a hedge that provides total enclosure and a discreet passageway among the branches for, among other things, furniture pieces from Milan.

  3. So it’s Cubana de Aviacion’s fault for his 45 minute delay to his own meeting. It’s always someone (thing) else with this guy..

  4. What this “speech” underscores is just how overmatched the bus driver is per international politics. Maduro and basically all of Chavismo were never competent people acting poorly, they were always pretenders too dull to recognize the walls were all falling down around them. Grand larceny, which many in the revolution are surely guilty of, does not require smarts, only opportunity. At the bottom of this sad one ultimately is made bored because nothing coming out of that camp means anything. We might as well be listening to a dog barking up there at the podium. Pathetic….


    Statement by the High Commissioner at the Special Meeting of the Human Rights Council on the occasion of the visit of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

    12 November 2015

    Mr. President,
    Distinguished Members of the Council,

    Please allow me to welcome H.E. President Nicolas Maduro to the Human Rights Council. I welcome this opportunity for the Council to hear from President Maduro about the human rights situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, particularly given its recent re-election to this important body.

    Membership of the Council comes with the responsibility to promote and protect human rights in one’s own country, but also on the global stage. It is my sincere hope that Venezuela will strive to make concrete progress on both fronts.

    I welcome Venezuela’s participation in the Council’s Universal Periodic Review and in its review this year by both the UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. I encourage its continued cooperation with international human rights mechanisms. My Office, in particular our Regional Office for South America, is ready to provide technical assistance in the implementation of the recommendations made by the Committees and in Venezuela’s UPR, as well as on the National Human Rights Action Plan. I also urge Venezuela to ratify again the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights.

    A number of UN human rights bodies, including the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Human Rights Committee, as well as my own Office, have raised serious concerns about the independence of the judiciary in Venezuela, the impartiality of judges and prosecutors and the pressures they face in handling politically sensitive cases. The cases of Judge María Lourdes Afiuni and Leopoldo Lopez are stark illustrations of these problems. The Human Rights Committee also recently expressed concerns, which I share, about intimidation, threats and attacks against journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers. I take this opportunity to urge Venezuela to comply with the recommendations of these international human rights bodies and to ensure that such individuals do not face undue pressure in carrying out their important work.

    As the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recently noted, Venezuela has made significant progress in the reduction of malnutrition and poverty. However in recent years, there has been what the Committee termed “a regressive tendency in the results of the fight against poverty”, which needs to be addressed.

    The implementation of a broad state of emergency in 24 municipalities, which suspends a number of human rights protections, is also deeply worrisome and should be promptly lifted.

    It is one of the key obligations of a sovereign State to uphold human rights and to defend even those – indeed especially those – who disagree with the State’s policies. It is thus that we build societies that are stable, resilient and prosperous.

    I thank you.

    • Could be stronger, i.e.

      As the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recently noted, Venezuela has made significant progress in the reduction of malnutrition and poverty. However in recent years, [it has become plainly obvious even to the most obtuse among us that such progress was entirely contingent on the abnormally high price of oil and was therefore a complete historical accident rather than the much touted commitment to human rights that your little band of self-important, hypocritical sociopaths trots out at these types of forums on a regular basis….]

    • Rumour has it many delegations moaned about Maduro’s request, not only because they knew what to expect from Nico, but also cos these sessions cost a f* lot of money (5 interpreters, room, gathering people, and whatnot), so they urged the High Commissioner to say *something*.

  6. Wow, can’t get past the first 10 minutes of the usual crap.. Thanks Ana, you’re a brave soldier to put up with the entire thing, and then having the guts to synthesize such extensive load of pure manure.

    The interesting part is: how many Millions and Millonas actually buy any of this? or even parts of it?

    Well, if the freaking UN enables and listens to some of this crock of shyt, and even buys some of it, you can only imagine what the rest of the less educated 3rd world planet does with it. Generously bribed or not.

  7. The High Commissioner’s speech before Maduro was the icing on the cake: “Yes, Mr. Maduro, you may speak, but we know you are going to speak nonsense.” Given the sordid history of the UNHRC, I was pleasantly surprised that the High Commissioner spoke so bluntly.

    From Claudio Veliiz: The True Genesis of Amnesty International.

    • Yes that’s right – However, if you see it from the UN HRC’s perspective it’s a DISASTER. First they elect Venezuela and Saudi Arabia (legitimacy anyone?), then they spend sh*t loads of money to get Maduro to use a UN body as a political forum. Ouch week.

      • I believe in your optics, Ana. For I see it the same way. The timing of the announcement comes across as a push-come-to-shove face-saving device.

      • The UNHRC has been a disaster for a long time, which has been self-evident to anyone with interest in the news. Recall that the UNHRC is the successor to the thoroughly discredited United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). Saudi Arabia or Venezuela are far from the first members of UN Human Rights governing bodies who are egregious violators of human rights. On the contrary, such appointments are rather common in the history of UN Human Rights governing bodies. Here are some countries that have served on either the UNHRC or the previous UNCHR: Cuba, Algeria, Vietnam, People’s Republic of China, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan. From a human rights perspective, this is like having a fox guard the henhouse.

        As far as I know, this is the first time that that a High Commissioner of the UNHRC or the previous UNCHR- has made such a strong statement about the violations of human rights of a member of the UNHRC or UNCHR. Given the sordid behavior of so many countries on the UNHRC- or on the previous UNCHR- such statements should have been made on a monthly basis for decades. It is safe to say that over the decades there have been many members of the UNHRC or the previous UNCHR who have been more egregious violators of human rights than Venezuela, but who never got such a talking-to by a High Commissioner. Better late than never.

        [See my link to Claudio Veliz’s article about Amnesty International, which makes the points that Human Rights not solely being about human rights has a long history.]

  8. Doubt much that common people in Venezuela pay much attention to boring official speeches before international forums , not from Maduro or anyone else. Even if its broadcast widely its the kind of thing that bores ordinary people and has them running for the door !! Maduros popular charisma and speaking style is not one to draw anybodys attention !!

    In the World the Maduros regime credibility is very low , for people who are well read or informed and for those that specialize or take interest in following latam news his speech is if not outright offensive in its hypochrisy absolutely implausible . If that werent enough the words of the UN gentlemen introducing the speech was blunt in uncovering the really mongrel nature of the regime !!

    Chavistas have this problem with recognizing reality , they think that blatant misinformation and lies will be believed if wrapt with cheap garish oratorical glitter !! . They always assumme that appearances control reality and that people will be automatically fooled if they manipulate its presentation.!!


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