Caracas, February 28, 2019 (venezuelanalysis.com) – A draft resolution tabled by the United States was rejected at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after being vetoed by China and Russia.
The US resolution called for the start of a process leading to “free, fair and credible elections,” as well as for “unhindered access and delivery of assistance” in Venezuela. The resolution had 9 votes in favor, 3 abstentions and 3 votes against, with China and Russia exercising their veto powers.
Russia’s UN envoy, Vasily Nebenzya, criticized the tabling of a resolution that Washington knew had no chance of being approved.
“We have serious concerns that today’s session may be used as a step forward in preparing a real intervention, not a humanitarian one,” he warned.
China and South Africa were the other countries to vote against the UN initiative. Chinese representative Ma Zhaoxu stressed that Beijing opposes any interference in internal Venezuelan affairs, while his South African counterpart, Jerry Matthews Matjila, condemned efforts to “violate the UN Charter.”
A Russian resolution, calling for a “peaceful settlement” of the political crisis through dialogue and for humanitarian assistance to be coordinated with the Venezuelan government, was likewise rejected, with 7 votes against, 4 in favor and 4 abstentions.
Venezuela’s permanent representative to the UN, Samuel Moncada, also had the chance to address the UNSC, slamming what he termed Washington’s violent escalation against the Caribbean nation.
“We demand respect for our sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-intervention in our internal affairs,” he said.
Thursday’s vote came on the heels of another UNSC debate centered on Venezuela on Tuesday. The diplomatic battles follow a tense standoff on the Venezuelan-Colombian border on Saturday, February 23. Self-proclaimed “Interim President” Juan Guaido had pledged that humanitarian aid would make its way into Venezuela on that day “no matter what.”
The border, which was ordered closed by the Venezuelan government, saw several incidents during the day as opposition groups tried to force trucks across Simon Bolivar International Bridge, but efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.
The Venezuelan government had vowed not to let the aid cargoes stockpiled in the Colombian town of Cucuta cross into its territory, dismissing the maneuver as a possible pretext for foreign military intervention. According to initial information supplied by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the aid shipment contained food and hygiene products meant for 5,000 people for 10 days. Reports have since emerged that the aid contained no medicine.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido defied a Supreme Court order barring him from leaving the country pending an ongoing investigation, traveling to Colombia ahead of February 23, with questions surrounding his ability to re-enter the country. However, on Thursday he vowed to re-enter Venezuela by Monday.
The opposition lawmaker talked to the press after a meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, calling for more sanctions to be imposed against Caracas. The US imposed sanctions on four Venezuelan governors on Monday, after imposing a de facto oil embargo in late January. Guaido also announced via Twitter that a new USAID shipment had arrived in Cucuta.
For his part, Bolsonaro said his government would “spare no effort” in helping Venezuela “return to democracy.”
Guaido had previously been in Colombia, where he attended a Lima Group meeting and met with Colombian President Ivan Duque and US Vice President Mike Pence. He is scheduled to visit Paraguay over the weekend before attempting to cross back into Venezuela. US leaders had previously warned against attempts to arrest Guaido, with National Security Advisor John Bolton threatening a “significant response” should any “violence or intimidation” be applied to him.