Trucks carrying humanitarian aids to Venezuela
The United States is pushing the U.N. Security Council to formally call for free, fair and credible presidential elections in Venezuela with international observers. This has prompted Russia to propose a different draft resolution.
Nearly 50 countries globally have recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s rightful interim ruler.
Both U.S. and Russia differ over international recognition of Venezuelan opposition leader and head of the country’s elected National Assembly Juan Guaido over President Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido last month declared himself interim head of state.
Diplomats from the 15 Security Council member countries met privately on Friday afternoon to discuss the U.S. drafted resolution expressing “full support for the National Assembly as the only democratically elected institution.”
Russia, China, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa last month blocked the Security Council from issuing a statement with the same content. However, on Jan. 26, the four countries could not prevent the council from publicly discussing Venezuela, as was requested by the U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said military intervention in Venezuela was “an option.”
Russia has accused U.S. of backing a coup attempt in Venezuela.
During talks on the U.S. draft resolution on Friday, Russia proposed an alternative text on Venezuela mentioning :
– concern over the attempts to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction, and
– concern over the threats to use force against the territorial integrity and political independence.
It remains to be seen which of the two drafts is passed by the Security Council. A council resolution needs nine votes and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China to pass.
Many countries have recognized Guaido, and are calling for a free and fair presidential election. Maduro cruised to re-election in May last year amid low turnout and allegations of vote-buying by the government.
The U.S. drafted resolution expresses “deep concern” that the presidential elections were neither free nor fair.
The Russian draft resolution “supports all initiatives aimed at reaching a political solution amongst Venezuelans including the Montevideo Mechanism, through a genuine and inclusive process of national dialogue.”
Leaders from Europe and Latin America met on Thursday in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo to discuss solutions for the deepening crisis in Venezuela. The global community is being urged not to directly intervene.
The U.S. draft resolution also mentions facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid for Venezuela whereas Russia has not mentioned humanitarian assistance in its draft resolution. The U.S. has sent food and medicine to the country’s border and accused Maduro of blocking its delivery with trucks and shipping containers.
Maduro’s government has denied that there is any humanitarian crisis. It has blamed its economic problems on sanctions. Venezuela is struggling with hunger, preventable diseases and hyperinflation forecast at 10 million percent in 2019.