Venezuelan Foreign Minister at UN: Trump Acted Like “World Emperor”

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza launched a scathing attack on the US government Monday during his address at the 72nd General Debate of the United Nation’s General Assembly.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza

Bogota, September 26 2017 ( – Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza launched a scathing attack on the US government Monday during his address at the 72nd General Debate of the United Nation’s General Assembly.

During his twenty minute speech, Arreaza hit back at US President Donald Trump, who used his maiden speech at the UN body last week to launch a tirade of criticism at Venezuela and threaten the country with “further action”. 

“A week ago today, this room and the world witnessed via the media yet another dangerous profanation of the principles and objectives of the United Nations, when US President Donald Trump, as if he were world emperor, used this podium that was built for peace, to announce wars and the total destruction of member states… as if he had absolute dictatorial powers,” said the foreign minister. 

The top Venezuelan diplomat condemned US threats against his government — including recent economic sanctions — as a violation of international law and the UN Charter. He said that Venezuela had suffered a series of “permanent aggressions” against its “economy, currency, and ability to produce” that are aimed at toppling its socialist government. 

“Today we have the obligation to denounce before the world that our people have been directly threatened by the Unites States President, with the use of the most powerful military force that has existed in the history of humanity,” he told the assembly.

Citing a statement from the Non-Aligned Movement rejecting international “coercive measures” last Tuesday, the foreign minister went on to urge the UN to find “effective mechanisms to neutralize these warlike ambitions and attempts to supplant the multilateralism that has cost us so much to build, in exchange for dictatorial unilateralism”. 

“The governments that have imposed (sanctions) illegally, should have the obligation to compensate those peoples who have suffered their effects,” he added.

US Human Rights Violations

The Venezuelan foreign minister also turned his attention to human rights abuses in the US, citing a string of figures ranging from poverty statistics to examples of racism against Afro-American and indigenous communities. Arreaza described the US as the biggest human rights violator “not just in its own territory, but throughout the world”. 

Listing dozens of recorded human rights abuses, Arreaza accused the US government of “unjustifiable wars, bombing civilian populations, secret prisons for the use of torture methods, the imposition of unilateral, illegal measures against the economies of many countries… and frightful immigration policies”. 

“The US has not ratified 62% of principle human rights treaties… 28% of people in poverty have no access to medical coverage… 10 million children are currently housed in prisons for adults… children can be condemned to life imprisonment, 70% of these children are Afro-American… The US is one of the seven countries that has not ratified the convention for the elimination of discrimination against women… One in three indigenous women in the US will be raped in her lifetime,” listed the foreign minister. 

“I apologize for so many details and pieces of information, but there are things you should know, and I know that the media hides,” he stated.

He also lambasted the Trump administration for attempting to renege on the Paris climate change agreements, signed by former US President Barack Obama. 

“It seems to us incredible and hostile that the US… is trying to remove itself from the Paris climate change agreements. Although they might not be a panacea, they are nonetheless a collective step towards mitigating the effects of climate change,” he said.

Human Rights Around the World

During his address, Arreaza also outlined his government’s position on numerous human rights violations around the world, condemning the extension of the US-sponsored financial blockade against Cuba, US sanctions against Russia and Iran, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons globally. 

“Venezuela is vehemently opposed to the continued existence of nuclear weapons on our planet. Possession [of these] subjects humanity to unjustifiable and unimaginable anguish and risk.” 

“We must make a supreme effort so that nuclear crises are de-escalated and disappear, hopefully, in exchange for weapons, we can have dialogue and humanist rationality,” he continued. 

In other comments, Arreaza voiced his support for the re-commencement of dialogue between the governments of Israel and Palestine, and recommended that “state terrorism” be included in diplomatic definitions of global terrorism.

In more controversial statements, the top diplomat urged economically powerful countries to take responsibility for global inequalities. In particular, he said that consumer countries should do much more to tackle the international drugs trade, and petitioned the UN to provide alternative sources of funding for countries that have expressed willingness to meet the organization’s 2020 development goals but which lack the resources to do so.

Referencing the string of powerful hurricanes that recently tore across the Caribbean and parts of the United States, Arreaza also demanded that the first world take responsibility for the devastating effects of climate change. 

He said that the “capitalist system is destroying mother earth” and inflicting a war on impoverished countries in the Caribbean that least contribute to global emissions.

“In the words of international ecological movements, let’s change the system, not the climate,” he said.