The UN Security Council talked about Venezuela yesterday in a meeting with striking, and at times moving, declarations focusing mainly on the staggering humanitarian crisis in the country. And it didn’t end without controversy.

Since it was a meeting under the Arria Formula, it wasn’t considered a real Security Council meeting, so some Council members didn’t show up, including two of the permanent five, Russia and China. Shortly before the meeting at the Economic and Social Council chamber, the ambassadors of Bolivia, Russia and China joined Rafael Ramirez in a short press conference where they rejected the meeting, based on the now usual argument of the US meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs. To them, the gathering violated the UN Charter principles and purposes and does not belong in the Council’s agenda — Venezuela is not a threat to international peace and security, something later agreed by Uruguay’s delegation.

Despite this, the meeting was extraordinary, as it was the first time the UN, albeit informally, heard about Venezuela’s dire political and humanitarian situation. OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, two of the most outspoken international figures defending the Venezuelan people from the Maduro regime, presented bold facts and figures from their past reports. Both referred to serious Human Rights violations involving Venezuelan security forces and government officials, and both referred to possible crimes against humanity, as well as the need for further investigation in order to determine if such cases could reach the International Crime Court.

Almagro called the situation “tragic,” saying the country is a “dictatorship” ruled by “a criminal scheme with official links to drug trafficking, that those in power use the state’s resources for drug dealing and money laundering.” Zeid expressed concern at reports of discrimination in food distribution through the CLAP program and its manipulation for political purposes, as well as the growing number of Venezuelans leaving the country. His office estimates that at least 600,000 Venezuelans have migrated to neighboring countries. Both Almagro and Zeid condemned the ANC, and declared Venezuela is not a democracy.

Venezuela is not a threat to international peace and security, something later agreed by Uruguay’s delegation.

But perhaps the most compelling statement was made by Caritas International, which presented the staggering reality of most Venezuelans in the face of severe food and medicine shortages, and its profound effects on families broken by ill health, death or migration. It labeled Venezuela a “failed state” unable to provide the most basic services for its population, particularly children and teenagers, saying the Venezuelan government “needs to take care of its own people.” By their estimates, there are 4 million Venezuelans who eat twice or less a day. Parents don’t eat in order to give children what little they have.

The US, Italy, UK, France, Japan, Uruguay, Ukraine, Sweden and Ethiopia took the floor, describing the need for concerted efforts in the face of the serious political and humanitarian situation.

Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador, made a moving statement, citing the case of 14 year-old Deivis Perez, a kidney patient who contracted sepsis through dialysis and died at a children’s hospital. She addressed the many hardships Venezuelans face, concluding that “justice is coming.”

And now?

Diplomacy has its ways, and they tend to be slow – particularly through UN channels.  Yesterday’s meeting is a baby step towards creating awareness on how serious the situation is and in mobilizing support in favor of the Venezuelan people (not its government). However, as long as the US continues to be the country taking the lead in pushing the issue of Venezuela, getting support from countries in different regions to back initiatives aimed at helping Venezuelans in need seems unlikely. Mainly because it sort of gives confirmation to Maduro’s calls of “imperialist ambitions,” a vision shared and feared by many in Latin America and beyond.

Nikki Haley has become a strong advocate for Venezuela, but it’s not clear if her stance is part of a larger, coherent strategy from the State Department or stems from her close relationship with Senator Marco Rubio and other Florida Republicans. Either way, the Trump Administration policy on Venezuela seems to be surprisingly coherent, and as long as Haley remains on the job, we should expect more from her corner.

Although slow, the wheels of fate are turning…

45 COMMENTS

  1. Luisa your comment makes no sense at all.
    “Mainly because it sort of gives confirmation to Maduro’s calls of “imperialist ambitions,” a vision shared and feared by many in Latin America and beyond.”
    The Lima group clearly shows that many countries do not share and fear Americas representation from within the UN.
    Luisa you also state.
    “Nikki Haley has become a strong advocate for Venezuela, but it’s not clear if her stance is part of a larger, coherent strategy from the State Department or stems from her close relationship with Senator Marco Rubio and other Florida Republicans.”
    If you think her actions at the UN are not a coherent US policy and that she is taking this approach because of her friendship with Marco Rubio, then i can fully understand why your career as a diplomat ended.
    Since Trump became President his approach to Maduro via McMasters and Tillerson has been very coherent and targeted.
    Maybe you should “advocate” for clear and logical reporting?
    Wait a minute i know thats not going to happen…….its Caracas Chronicles.
    ‘ Timendi causa est nescire seneca ‘

    • Well put. Her posts reek of socialist banter and apologists for Chavistas.

      Being an Obama fan has it’s draw backs, but never having to apologise for a failed foreign policy is not one of them.

    • Thank you Crusader for taking the time to read and comment this article. I would just say that I respect a great deal whatever comments and observations engaged readers like you might have about the substance of what it’s written. I actually enjoy reading comments here, and learn a great deal from different points of view. But while you can disagree with me all you want, I find disappointing and out of line comments directed at me personally or at my professional abilities. So I hope next time I am again sent “a ser quemada en la hoguera” for whatever it is I’ve written, it is done based on ideas and arguments, not on something related to me personally or on asumptions of what I am or what I may or may not think. Let’s try not to become what we critize so much from Maduro’s regime.

      • Luisa, firstly do not be so thin skinned.
        When i said;
        “If you think her actions at the UN are not a coherent US policy and that she is taking this approach because of her friendship with Marco Rubio, then i can fully understand why your career as a diplomat ended.”
        It was said from the context that you are deliberately describing yourself as a Career Diplomat, firstly the understanding of a Career Diplomat is a person who has carried out such a task for their working life, that certainly does not appear to be the case with you, unless you are a lot older than your photo suggests.
        I believe it may be to try to add gravitas to your own point of view.
        Secondly please use this forum to now add meat to the bone and make a case for why this is not a coherent policy, but a personal one of Americas representative to the UN.
        This is were your ‘ideas and argument’ should come in, but is it a ‘feeling’ or can you allude to the facts please.
        My last posting, before i went private, was at the British Embassy Kabul in 2011, so i have a small understanding of the black arts.

  2. Wow… Luisa strikes again… Completely foolish post and lacking any coherent thought.

    I wonder if you didn’t read Nikki’s whole speech before cribbing notes from The Nation or Maduro.

    It’s posts like this that make me wonder if VZ is even worth caring about.

    Give my best to David Corn while your at it.

  3. Kissing Putin’s ass is all part of the Master Plan to free Venezuela, I am sure. Just ask the Ukrainians or the Syrians how that works…

    • Canucklehead stop kissing Putins ass, i know its all part of your masterplan but…………Obama and Killary are getting jealous.
      Its going to be so much better when the Russian fleet starts using the Venezuelan ports, well its not like they are busy offloading food and medicine.

      • As for Xi, after all that ass kissing from Trump last week, I believe what is described in the post above is called in Mandarin: Loss of Orange Face.

        • Canuck I will wait with bated breath for your opinion on your own Premier Trudeau, and all the pay to play accusations happening in Canada but then he is a liberal so a fucking saint to you.
          Millions going to the Trudeau foundation, and from the Chinese. He must have learnt from the Clinton scumbags, ha ha
          Why dont you concentrate on your own cesspit in Canada and leave Venezuela to us who live here. Only saying.

          • All the whataboutisms here, I was waiting for Trudeau! Whatabout Canadian corporate tax policy! And Hillary! Forget about The Moron, China, Russia and Venezuela….Whatabout Hillary! Whatabout the War of 1812! What about Communists!….

          • You don’t have to wonder, man. Unlike you and your fellow extras from Thriller who showed up around November, 2016, I’ve been commenting here for years. You’ve got time on your hands. Enlighten yourself!

          • My wondering doesn’t warrant the research. A simple yes or no would have been sufficient. Since I doubt though that an answer will be forthcoming, I’ll take a stab and suggest the answer would have been no. Correct?

          • Canucklehead
            “Unlike you and your fellow extras from Thriller who showed up around November, 2016, I’ve been commenting here for years.”

            You have been talking the proverbial diarrhoea for years pontificating to people who understand and live this life.
            You really are so blinded by your own condescending bullshit.
            But now getting called out is like your crack hit for the day….you just love it.
            Personally i would never be so arrogant as to go on a parallel site like this about Canada and gob off like a proper muppet.
            Thats why you amuse me so, as you show me how virtuous i am, ha ha

          • MRubio, the response of normal adults to political leaders who are also within the range of generally accepted norms, is often nuanced. They like some things, they don’t like other things. Sometimes they can be highly critical. Sometimes they are highly supportive.

            My response regarding the USA administration to Venezuela has generally I think been one of observing the hypocrisy of the talk in view of the obvious and overwhelming material support provided through trade with the USA. A degree of hypocrisy comes with the job of any politician, and a normal POTUS has to balance competing interests: an interest in stable oil prices domestically, and interest in keeping corporations and banks happy, an interest in not engaging a guy like Chavez in a way that will play to his base and regional prejudices against gringos. And yes, gringo Chavez supporters on the left, I imagine.

            Nobody on this comments page was talking about sanctions against Venezuela during the Chavez era or even for some time after Maduro took over. The consensus, as the Obama administration took steps to try to get out of the worst financial crisis since the great depression, and two extremely costly wars, was diplomatic pressure and regional engagement. Chavez was, in turn, very popular in Venezuela.

            To me, this aroused a significant degree of frustration, as I think many Venezuelans felt (and did so under George W Bush as well). The cynic in me saw this as hypocrisy attributable in large measure to the influence of corporate interests. But frustration aside, I can understand how the Obama Administration would in good faith, not have seen it in the national interest at that time to directly engage Chavez in a fight. Under Maduro, as things got progressively more repressive, the calculus changed, and the Obama Administration started sanctions.

            More recently, and under Trump, the situation in Venezuela has gotten still significantly worse. Maduro seems increasingly emboldened to violate human rights, the popularity of his regime has plummeted, and oil prices have exacerbated the already appalling mismanagement of the economy. Sanctions begun under Obama, are being expanded- appropriately for the times, I think. More can surely be done, but it should be done with all efforts on multilateral measures.

            And meanwhile, the two great sponsors of the Maduro regime (besides corporate America), being China and Russia, have in Trump a willing idiot, a master of the auto-goal, a patsy, and a person who does not understand the signals his clownish behavior send to a regime like the Venezuelan regime, a man who can’t help but saw away on the branch on which he sits, and who obviously does not understand the basic principles of democracy or the rule of law, much less economics or diplomacy.

            So going back to my initial point, neither Trump, nor Maduro, nor Putin, nor Xi, are normal leaders. They are not to my reckoning, leaders who operate within a range of acceptable norms. They are not properly afforded from small-d democrats, the benefit of the doubt. You will note that I distinguish Trump from others around him, including some of his own party members and appointees. Good for Nicky Haley. Good for Marco Rubio- on Venezuela and Russia, at least.

            It is the case that Trump’s fawning over Putin and Xi do not serve the interests of Venezuelans. If you can’t see that, if you can’t acknowledge that, I can’t help you, obviously, but I understand why you’d rather change the subject to Hillary, or Obama, or Justin, or whatabout this and whatabout that. You are rationalizing a really ridiculous, sad and destructive state of affairs, or you just want to change the subject. Like your Orange narcissist mentor.

    • Canucklehead—that all started after Pres. Trump took office, am I correct?

      All of Pres. Trump’s supporters (on this site) sound, to me, a lot like the millennials with their imagined/non-existent claims of being offended by micro-aggressions.

      Pres. Obama did nothing for Venezuela, it seems as though Pres. Trump is making an effort to help the people of Venezuela. While one was “capable but uninterested” and the other may not be “interested but incapable”, this is no reason to always defend the current Pres. nor to mock each and every move he makes.

      • I’ll speak for myself, waltz. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Obama did nothing for Venezuela as there were individual sanctions applied to Godgiven Hair and some of the narco-generals. But beyond that, no, not much was done by his administration to help the suffering of the country’s people.

        What rubs me the wrong way is that when this staff is literally forced to write something positive about the Trump administration’s efforts to help this country (like today), they’ve always got to toss in the obligatory disclaimers.

        I don’t think anyone can claim today, at least not with a straight face, that Trump’s efforts the short time he’s been in office to force regime change in Venezuela have not dwarfed what Obama did while in office for 8 years. But what do we get every time the subject comes up? The same old shit over and over again. They can’t seem to help themselves.

        While I didn’t post here for a long while, I read this site often and I don’t reall ever seeing a negative article about the Obama administration’s efforts to effect change in Venezuela. I didn’t think much of it at the time, because Obama wasn’t doing much, but the negative reactions here once Trump took office and actually started doing something, stood out. Now, perhaps articles blasting Obama’s do-nothing policies are out there, I’ve asked for the links so I can give credit where credit is due, but nothing has ever materialized.

        As it relates to what the US has done, can do, does, and perhaps will do to help this country, I find that those who write the articles here let their politics and hatred of Trump cloud their ability to think critically. That’s unfortunate. I call them hypocrites.

        • MRubio—thanks for correcting me, you are correct, Pres. Obama did sanction a few individuals. The timing of those sanctions also, in a way, make sense. I believe that they were imposed after MUD gained control of the AN. Clearly I am not a fan of Pres. Trump but I am willing to judge each of his actions/policies individually where clearly others are not. On the other hand, there is no need to “get up in arms” every time he is slighted.

          Great point about Godgiven Hair not being sanctioned yet in the other thread. That is both confusing and surprising, maybe he and Padrino have a plan to oust Maduro and align with the U.S. (yes I am aware that Padrino has been sanctioned.)

      • I believe the mere, slightest suggestion in this post, was that the current administration’s approach may not be totally 100% coherent. Hardly mocking. But nevertheless, that little hint of a doubt, that smidgen of uncertainty, has the usual people here with their knickers in a knot. Blasphemers! Attackers! Ingrates! Socialists! Quico! Chavistas all of them!

        The pathetic alacrity with which people internalize this totalitarian feedback loop- don’t criticize the Moron, or he will not do the good things he says he will do- never ceases to amaze. The Moron is due total deference until he has finished saving us. Well yes, I saw that happen in Venezuela too…

        In my opinion, what CC has put here is generous (i.e. suggesting a possible lack of coherence), given the antics of the Chief Executive. I’ll give the US Ambassador, the US State Department – or what is left of it (including yes Obama appointments out front on this)- and Marco Rubio their due- they are doing some positive things on the Venezuela file, from what I can see.

        And Trump is undermining their efforts… bigly. China and Russia- Xi and Putin- are making fools of Trump. Have you not noticed? They don’t give a crap what the USA says about Venezuela, because they just have to call Trump and he will kiss their totalitarian asses. You don’t walk out on a speech from someone you respect, or fear, or have the slightest interest in working with.

        Trump is a buffoon. He is a liar. He is a threat to us all in big ways and in little ways. And I’m just quoting his colleagues.

        What’s not to mock? But there was no mocking in this post. That great insult to Trump is just the imagination of a collection of pathetic hero worshipers. The author was offering, on balance, compliments to the USA. And everyone freaked out, because it was just not enough drooling for His Greatness.

        • Canucklehead my little colonial, take solace in a bit of Shakespeare ‘Twelfth Night’
          “Who is the fool, the fool or the man who follows the fool”
          I think you are the latter.
          And yet you try so so hard to be smart!

          • I know it’s better to be a witty fool than a foolish wIt, but I’ve seen Twelfth Night maybe a half dozen times and read it several more, and I’d swear you are quoting Obi Wan Kenobi.

          • Sorry cannuck i forgot French is your first language in Canada, you must have read the condensed version.( well my French wife says she doesnt recognise what French you Canadians speak!)
            Still i bet you love a bit of Chaucer, muppet.

  4. “Nikki Haley has become a strong advocate for Venezuela, but it’s not clear if her stance is part of a larger, coherent strategy from the State Department or stems from her close relationship with Senator Marco Rubio and other Florida Republicans. Either way, the Trump Administration policy on Venezuela seems to be surprisingly coherent, and as long as Haley remains on the job, we should expect more from her corner.”

    ———

    Gotta throw in those “subliminal” digs when you can, I suppose.

    I have to laugh to myself. So many Venezuelans want the United States to do something tangible (The Military Option), and millions more would give anything to emigrate from Venezuela to the states, yet that can’t keep from so many the offering up their soft assessment of what they think is wrong with the US.

    Haley? Trump? Rubio? Republicans? Floridians?

    “It’s not clear”? What isn’t clear? “Surprisingly coherent”? Why the surprise? Is the United States throwing Venezuelans under a bus or something? FFS, Trump put the economic stranglehold on Chavismo, and some people are second guessing our ability to string together a cogent thought? Venezuela is a shit-hole right now, and what the VZ people need right now is any port in the storm. F*** the political persuasion of the people offering the port.

    It comes across as insincere when people want help, get the help, then wonder why the help was offered and if the sentiment was genuine.

    • Man, you said it.

      And. I gotta take issue with people here not seeing the ENORMOUS difference in Trump’s actions to bring about change in VZ and Obama’s.

      You gotta be joking me. Obama did NOTHING in 8 years, and in less than ONE year, Trump has brought these Chavistas to their knees. And don’t give my any bullshit like “Well, they were going to collapse economically ANYWAY, Chavismo under its own weight. Just another example of never giving Trump credit for anything.

      VZ is on the world STAGE now, and it’s thanks to Trump’s attention to the country. Have some of you lost your damn memories comparing just November 2016 to November 2017, now? I mean, come on for God’s sake! In just one year.

      Trump wouldn’t take Maduro’s phone call.

      Obama laughed it up with Hugo, and THANKED Hugo for the book he gave him, the subject of which was communistic, anti-U.S., anti-Imperialism propaganda.

  5. “Either way, the Trump Administration policy on Venezuela seems to be surprisingly coherent……..”

    Why do you find it surprisingly coherent? I certainly don’t, doesn’t surprise me at all. Is it because of your fear and loathing of the man that you find it surprising, or is it because we got 8 years of limp-wristed lip service (and I’m being generous) from the Obama administration when it came to what was unfolding in Venezuela over the course of his 8 years in office?

    I don’t know at which point during the Obama administration would have been the optimum point to really enter the fray forcibly. But looking back, certainly one point was after the Dec 2015 thrashing that chavismo took losing complete control of the AN, followed by the regime’s blatant emasculation and side-lining of the body. Was there any doubt in anyone’s mind what the Venezuelan people really wanted after Dec 2015?

    Of course, had Obama finally done something in the spring of 2016, we’re talking about just a year’s worth of extra effort on top of what Trump has already accomplished. How much would an extra year have mattered? Perhaps we could ask Venezuelans like Belkis Solórzano if it would have made a difference in their lives. Oh, that’s right, she’s dead at age 50 because of a lack of medication.

    • It’s “surprisingly coherent” because it’s a worldwide consensus that Trump’s behavior is quite erratic and that his administration in general is in disarray? And that he seems to be actively sabotaging his own State Department?
      The intent is NOT to compare him with Obama on the particular issue of Venezuela. The intent IS to remark that, in general, he has been quite bad as president of the U.S. Even the Bushes have gone on record with scathing remarks against him.

      • esaulgd, if you’ve ever found yourself, or watched someone else, trying to kill a dozen rats running in a dozen different directions, you’d believe there was general disarray as well.

        Republicans, democrats, DC power brokers, the mainstream media, lobbyists, and everyone else who wants, and needs, the status quo, including the Bushes and their “scathing remarks against him”, are the rats.

        I welcome this “bad” president. Long overdue in my personal opinion. Let the disarray continue and the whining from left and right as well.

    • For all the suffering that the Venezuelan people have endured, an assessment of how the Obama administration handled the Arab spring and the resulting destabilization of Libya, the destruction of Syria and the rise of ISIS, make me think you may be lucky that Obama and Clinton didn’t opt for regime change in Venezuela.

    • Because his approach to North Korea, the EU, China, and Russia have been clumsy at best, so a well-conceived and executed pressure-based strategy is refreshing.

  6. While hardly a socialist myself, “imperialist” raises some interesting questions. There’s the machimo angle whereby the issue is a control battle, and the US should stay out of “meddling” with another countries affairs. There there’s the issue of competency per those braying “meddling.”

    For example, when Delcey says that the humanitarian is a plot fabricated to excuse US military intervention, is there any moral mandate to check such a bold faced and demonic lie, when the charge of meddling is really a threat toward anyone who might question their dictatorial rule? The US is never going to invade because they would have to foot the bill for all of the countries bumblings and profligate theft. And yet NOT meddling is in a sense abandoning a neighbor as their house burns down.

    Fact is with a failed state run by dolts vastly overmatched by the political demands of 2017, “help” is a word packed with dynamite.

    • Excellent post. You brought up a number of good points. (Don’t you love it when people say something like that, and then leave you in mystery as to which points they might have thought were so good? You wonder if you stunned them to the point that was all they could muster, or if they actually got any of it.)

      Delcey is “hate speeching” all-a-the-time. (What’s needed is a law against lying, but good luck with that one, as the saying goes.)

      The major thing … I had thought the U.S. had a pretty delicate line to sanction on, to target it at the regime, and not at the population, and I knew pretty sure the U.S. would not “invade”, since it took the Lat Am neighbors all of 48 hours to unite in opposition to any invasion. Wowzers that was fast! But it hadn’t crossed my mind that the U.S. would get stuck footing the bill if it DID “invade”. (And I did see the Peter Sellers movie, “The Mouse That Roared” – you remember maybe, the bankrupt Eastern European country that declared war on the U.S. and within minutes surrendered, so they could then apply for a post-war reconstruction package?)

      The other major point you bring up is the competency of the Lat Am neighbors. They are to be widely credited for accepting what really amounts to refugees. The warmth can be felt. But the diplomatic plans to remove the regime seem to have failed.

  7. Canucklehead has a problem with Trump because he put that little shithead of a hypocritical, leftist, communist Frenchy Trudeau in his place.

  8. Ms Kislinger, the choice is clear but your choice is not. Sanctions from the US or what you describe as baby steps at the UN, those are the choices and your post is clear at least on that point. But less clear was your preference, your choice between these alternatives. Some here have suggested you were simply ungrateful and perhaps a bit cynical in claiming that U S sanctions hurt Venezuela by invoking fears of anti imperialism. So help us understand your position without equivication. It truly is your choice ,US sanctions or baby steps at the UN. Oh, and one other though. No one who extends a hand wants it slapped. So if your choice is US sanctions, accept it with some grace this time.

  9. Putin does not want Venezuela to change regime, full stop.
    If you read Russiah or can use machine translation, have this
    for starters:
    https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3428572?query=пшеница%20венесуэла
    Obvioysly the situation now is very different from the times when dictator Pinochet was ruling in Chile and the USSR had Gorbachov.

    As for one sided US sanctions, I ask people here to give me two examples of countries where that helped to change the regime without having Russia on the same side.

    Venezuelans need to have good plan B and C and D when it comes to dealing with the Russian regime. It won’t be Julio Borges’ take, I think

  10. Obama had a “coherent” policy with Libya, Ukraine, Syria… Some Canadian posters said so here not all that long ago.

    Yet, CC has to invite socialists to tear down POTUS Donald J. Trump at every turn with misleading articles and notes cribbed from sexual predators at The Nation like David Corn.

    I guess Maduro could not ask for a better forum to distract his people.

  11. Dear Trump cheerleaders: Our shared hate for Maduro and his gang doesn’t mean we have to agree on Trump’s performance or effectiveness. Calling his approach towards Venezuela “surprisingly coherent” is perfectly fair, given his diplomatic fumbles just about everywhere else. If you’re going to use the situation in Venezuela as rhetorical ammo to defend your guy, please go do it somewhere else.

    • Where else should we do it, Escualidus?

      As you correctly point out, we’re supposedly all on the same side, have Venezuela’s best interests at heart, and want to see the Venezeulan people freed from this cancer that’s steadily consuming the country. Yet every time the subject of His Orangeness and Venezuela comes up, we get that same look down the nose with the head cocked to one side asking if the offer’s really worth it.

      Again, I quote Mr. William Crispin who summed it up perfectly:

      She had not eaten for days and looked both pale and gaunt. Glancing down at the food on her plate provided by a stranger she noted wistfully that some of the spices were not to her liking.

    • What?

      We’re talking about VZ, and many of us defending Trump’s actions. And we’re supposed to do it elsewhere?

      What parallel universe are you living in? Your post makes no sense.

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