The President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro – REUTERS / MANAURE QUINTERO – Archive
MADRID, Oct. 17 (EUROPE PRESS) –
Venezuela has become one of the 14 new members of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2020-2022 period, despite the fact that many Latin American countries and NGOs had opposed the government of Nicolás Maduro occupying one of the two seats available to the region due to the political and humanitarian crisis suffered by the Caribbean nation.
Latin America and the Caribbean had two reserved seats among the new members of the Council that, in principle, were to be automatically awarded to Venezuela and Brazil because they were the only candidates for the region.
To avoid this, the president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, announced last October 3 'in extremis' the country's candidacy. “Because of the serious violations against Human Rights … the Venezuelan regime is not a suitable candidate for the Council,” he said on Twitter.
The Chilean Foreign Minister, Teodoro Ribera, had warned in recent days that “it would be a disrepute for the UN and for the entire world that Venezuela could integrate the Human Rights Council.” “It would also be a mockery for the millions of Venezuelans who suffer in Venezuela or who must have taken the decision to leave that country,” he added.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has repeatedly asked the United Nations General Assembly not to “reward” Maduro with a position on the Council, blaming him for “the systematic violations of human rights” in Venezuela, among which he has mentioned extrajudicial executions, torture and arbitrary detentions, and, to a large extent, of “a devastating humanitarian emergency” that has caused “the greatest exodus in the history of Latin America.”
In the case of Brazil, HRW said that although its president, Jair Bolsonaro, “has embraced hostile rhetoric to human rights norms,” ”Brazil has supported numerous Council resolutions on a wide range of violations worldwide.” “Not all members of the Human Rights Council are exemplary – some are far from it – but Venezuela clearly goes out of line,” said the NGO.
The other twelve members elected on Thursday, in addition to Venezuela and Brazil, are Libya, Mauritania, Namibia and Sudan, which have occupied all four African seats; Indonesia, Japan, Marshall Islands and South Korea, for the four of Asia-Pacific, so Iraq has been ruled out; Armenia and Poland, for the two of Eastern Europe – Moldova has fallen–; and Germany and the Netherlands, for Western Europe.
Venezuela will fill the vacancy of Cuba, whose term will end on December 31, while Brazil has been re-elected for another three years. Caracas and Brasilia will share the regional representation with Argentina, Bahamas, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, already present at the UN Human Rights Council, consisting of 47 countries.
Maduro has gone to Twitter to celebrate this “victory at the UN”. “With 105 votes in favor, Venezuela enters the United Nations Human Rights Council as a free and sovereign country. Above the threats, our Bolivarian peace diplomacy and the free self-determination of the peoples triumphed,” he wrote.
Along the same lines, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has expressed himself in an appearance from Caracas. “Today we come to celebrate a new victory of the Bolivarian peace diplomacy. More than Bolivarian breezes, today in the General Assembly they felt winds,” he said.
Arreaza has described this victory as “historic” because, as he has denounced, Venezuela has faced “a brutal campaign by the United States and its satellite and subordinate countries” to prevent the Bolivarian Republic from getting the job.
The head of Venezuelan diplomacy has insisted that States “do not have the moral or authority” to veto any country in the UN Human Rights Council because it “bombs countries and peoples”, referring to nuclear attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the war in Iraq. In addition, he has denounced again the blockade of Washington to Caracas and Havana.
Arreaza has especially regretted that some Latin American governments have aligned with the United States. Thus, he has mentioned the Lima Group – “a cartelized group against Venezuela” – and Costa Rica, whose president has accused him of committing a “historical error”.
He also drew attention to the fact that “the United States despises the UN”, recalling that last year he left the Human Rights Council and that he has also left UNESCO, as well as multilateralism in general, pointing to the Paris Agreement Fight against climate change.
Against this, the head of the Yellow House has promised that Venezuela will “honor” the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and promote and defend multilateralism.
The opposition led by the self-proclaimed “president in charge” of the country, Juan Guaidó, has expressed regret over the appointment of Venezuela as a new member of the highest UN body on Human Rights.
“It is unacceptable to select a country that violates Human Rights,” said the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Guaidó team, Humberti Prado, on social networks.
Former Caracas metropolitan mayor Antonio Ledezma has ironized that, after this step, the UN could elect representatives from the Cali or Sinaloa cartels to form an eventual drug committee. “What a kick they have given to the graves of those killed by Maduro and his gang,” he lamented on Twitter.
For his part, the head of foreign policy in the Guaidó team, Julio Borges, has trusted that “the elected democracies in that body will be closer to the dictatorship and will expose their violations of Human Rights.” “This maneuver will not serve to hide their crimes,” he said.
On the other hand, the Costa Rican president has thanked the 96 countries that supported the candidacy of the Central American nation, stating that “when one is consistent with the principles, there is no possible defeat, only work ahead.”
“It is simply unacceptable that mass violators of Human Rights such as the old Maduro regime in Venezuela may have a role (in the UN Human Rights Council),” the United States ambassador to the United Nations said on Twitter, Kelly Craft