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Venezuela: An Open Letter to the UN Secretary General

Reblogged from the personal website of Prof. Alfred de Zayas, human rights lawyer and former UN Independent Expert. This is important – please share widely.

Alfred de Zayas, human rights lawyer & UN independent expert on international order. His report on Venezuela has been buried by the MSM.

OPEN LETTER TO THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES

AND TO THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS MICHELLE BACHELET

from Alfred de Zayas, 23 February 2019

Dear Michelle Bachelet,

Dear Antonio Guterres

As former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order (2012-2018) I would like to urge you to once again make your voices heard and make concrete proposals for mediation and peace in the context of the Venezuelan crisis.

The most noble task of the United Nations is to create the conditions conducive to local, regional and international peace, to work preventively and tirelessly to avoid armed conflicts, to mediate and negotiate to reach peaceful solutions, so that all human beings can live in human dignity and in the enjoyment of the human right to peace and all other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. I am particularly worried by the Orwellian corruption of language, the instrumentalization and weaponization of human rights and now even of humanitarian assistance.

I look back at my UN mission to Venezuela in November/December 2017 as a modest contribution to facilitate the cooperation between the United Nations and the Venezuelan government and to open the door to the visits of other rapporteurs. See my report to the UN Human Rights Council and the relevant recommendations.

I believe that it would be timely and necessary for both of you to issue a statement reaffirming General Assembly Resolutions 2625 and 3314 and the 23 Principles of International Order that I formulated in my 2018 report to the Human Rights Council. See para 14 of [the report].

It would be appropriate to recognize the fact that the government of Venezuela has put into effect some of the recommendations contained in my report — and in the six page confidential memo that I personally gave to Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza upon my departure.

Indeed, first the Venezuelan government released 80 detainees — including Roberto Picón and 23 others whose release I had specifically requested — that was on 23 December 2017, followed by other releases in the course of 2018. Alas, there has been practically no information about this in the mainstream media, although it is easily accessible in the internet. See also the comments of Venezuela on my report.

In particular paragraph 46(xvi):

As a result of this on 23 December 2017, 80 people arrested for acts of violence during the protests in the country were released; and on 1 June 2018, 39 more people were released.

And paragraph 46(xviii):

In this regard, the Venezuelan Government values the willingness and disposition of the Independent Expert, who was pleased to inform the competent authorities of the requests he received from some relatives of the persons deprived of their liberty. His recommendations were accepted.

Shortly after my visit Venezuelan authorities met with the UN agencies and made additional cooperation accords, thanks to the valuable efforts Peter Grohmann, the UNDP representative in Caracas.

Now the government of Venezuela has formally asked the United Nations for humanitarian assistance in connection with the current crisis. We must not let them down.

I think that the US should turn over all the humanitarian assistance and medical supplies it has flown into Colombia and have them distributed as soon as possible with the help of the United Nations and other neutral organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Another item of information that is sorely missing from the mainstream media is the delivery last week of 933 tons of food and medicines at port La Guaira — coming from China, Cuba, India, Turkey etc.

Moreover an additional 300 tons of medicines and medical supplies provided by Russia arrived by air.

As I know from my conversations with Venezuelan ministers during my visit in 2017 and the recent conversations I have had with Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Jorge Valero – Venezuela has always welcomed and repeatedly asked for assistance from neutral and friendly governments so as to overcome the adverse human rights impacts of the financial blockade and the sanctions. Such help should be offered in good faith, without strings attached.

I believe that this is the moment for Michelle Bachelet to accept the invitation of the government of Venezuela, extended to her in December 2018, to visit Venezuela personally. Her presence in Venezuela should ban the growing danger of a military intervention by foreign entities. She should endorse the efforts at mediation launched by Mexico and Uruguay at the Montevideo mechanism.

There are ominous parallels with the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003 — an illegal war, as Kofi Annan said on repeated occasions.

It is obvious to any first year law student that the constant threats against Venezuela are contrary to article 2(4) of the UN Charter. What many do not realize is that the threats, the economic war, the financial blockade and the sanctions violate the principles contained in Article 3 of the OAS Charter

e. Every State has the right to choose, without external interference, its political, economic, and social system and to organize itself in the way best suited to it, and has the duty to abstain from intervening in the affairs of another State. Subject to the foregoing, the American States shall cooperate fully among themselves, independently of the nature of their political, economic, and social systems; f. The American States condemn war of aggression: victory does not give rights; g. An act of aggression against one American State is an act of aggression against all the other American States; h. Controversies of an international character arising between two or more American States shall be settled by peaceful procedures; I. Social justice and social security are bases of lasting peace…

Moreover, they violate numerous articles of Chapter 4 of the OAS Charter,

Article 17

Each State has the right to develop its cultural, political, and economic life freely and naturally. In this free development, the State shall respect the rights of the individual and the principles of universal morality.

Article 18

Respect for and the faithful observance of treaties constitute standards for the development of peaceful relations among States. International treaties and agreements should be public.

Article 19

No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.

Article 20

No State may use or encourage the use of coercive measures of an economic or political character in order to force the sovereign will of another State and obtain from it advantages of any kind.

Dear Michelle Bachelet, dear Antonio Guterres: The world looks up to you in the hope that you can avert even greater suffering to the peoples of Venezuela. They need international solidarity as expressed in the report of Virginia Dandan, the then independent expert on human rights and international solidarity.

I remain respectfully yours

Professor Dr. Alfred de Zayas, Geneva School of Diplomacy


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It’s a pity Branson can’t organise a pop concert in Yemen or Gaza for all the starving people there.

comite espartaco
Reader

Me, me me… It is difficult to say if this a letter of the author to himself for the purposes of self-canonisation or a plea for Venezuela. Jesus Christ, is this the calibre of diplomacy reached by the crooks that run the UN…???!!! In any case, the author forgot to realise that it is Venezuela and its Bolivarian ultra-liberal regime, that is attacking the rest of the region and even beyond, with mass waves of migration…!!!

mark
Reader
mark

More hasbara garbage.
The Zionist Regime and its legions of 30 shekel whores in Washington have been targeting Venezuela for destruction ever since it broke off diplomatic relations and recognised Palestine after one of the many genocidal Zionist massacres in Gaza.

Lee
Reader
Lee

Mark the Venezuelan regime are terrorists and mafia combined. You know nothing, neither does afred de zayas. The UN should listen to the millions of Venezuelans who have been forced to flee in order that they can feed themselves and provide for family back home. Most of them left long before any sanctions targeted the Venezuelan state. Until recently these sanctions were strictly limited to the personal wealth of the leaders, stolen from the state and Venezuelan taxpayers. Venezuela has no justice system and no functional state institutions. It is merely a vast slave colony with people able to earn… Read more »

vexarb
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vexarb

Canthama sums up the aftermath of Feb23 and reviews Uncle $cam’s prospects of getting his AZC hands on oil rich Venezuela and Iran. From SyrPer #287576: [After Uncle’s failure in Syria] I still don’t buy an attack on Iran, it is simply improbable to happen without triggering a huge and broader conflict in the region and maybe Europe with it, so it is possible but not probable. I do not think there are a lot of adventurers today in EU that would support a war in Iran, and I also doubt most of Arab countries would support it. I can… Read more »

vexarb
Reader
vexarb

Re Canthama’s prediction of stormy waters and probable shipwreck ahead for U$$ $hale, together with BigB’s net negative assessment of that tarry stinky stuff, and our running discussion re ongoing environmental catastrophes, the following thought strikes me: For 20,000 years the Red Indians and the buffalo have been roaming the great grasslands: countless millions of buffalo eating the grass, and 100 million Red Indians eating the buffalo; with, reciprocally, both Buffalo and Red Indians fertilizing the grasslands with the N from their pee and kaki, the P from their bones and the K from their blood. A balanced system that… Read more »

Philpot
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Philpot

Good point but doubt 100 million ‘red’ indians…

mark
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mark

I’ve been watching the whole unfolding US Regime Change Scam in Venezuela and I’ve been scratching my head in disbelief. I don’t know what other people think, but it seems to have an amateurish, clownish, vaudeville quality about it. I keep expecting John Cleese or Michael Palin to turn up. Either one of them would make a fine Gweedo. The whole cast of characters has the same unreal quality about it. Abrams is the cartoon villain, a sort of Terry Thomas character trying to do an unconvincing imitation of Blofeld, with Bolton, Pompeo (in between his six meals a day)… Read more »

robbobbobin
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robbobbobin

“Pompeo has been spouting nonsense about Hezbollah and Iran invading the country.” There are a surprising number of Lebanese and Syrians immigrants in Venezuela, together numbering around a million, maybe more — at least 3% of the population. Though they have assimilated well, the circumstances of their continued immigration over the years has also kept their local communal ties and their connections with Levantine politics strong, certainly strong enough to worry a Hezbollah- and Muslim-averse, paranoia-afflicted US Administration into extending its stateless war on Middle Eastern / Muslim “terrorism” into the unholy triangle of Nicaraguan, Cuban and Venezuelan socialism squatting… Read more »

mark
Reader
mark

There are a lot of ” unholy triangles” in the world. An obvious one in the western hemisphere is the Trump Regime and its fascist satraps in Colombia and Brazil. Another “unholy triangle” is the Zionist Apartheid Regime, Shady Wahabia, and the barbaric medieval Gulf Dictatorships. Or the Fascist Coup Regime in Ukraine, the shitty little Nazi Baltic countries, and the rabid neocon fanatics in Poland. 4 million Lebanese live in Lebanon. Another 12 million live outside the country. Like 6.5 million Jews live in Occupied Palestine, and several times as many live elsewhere, keeping their communal ties and connections… Read more »

Robbobbobin
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Robbobbobin

The “unholy triangles” you mention are what you think of as such, the one I referenced, specific to your comment, is what the current US administration thinks of as such. It really is a total fucking bore to find that almost the entire vocal left is increasingly composed of such leaden spirited bumpkins that even only slightly understated irony slides right over the vestigial appendages they probably call their heads. Would some trigger warnings or smileys help? And perhaps a trowel to lay them on with?

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

de Zayas managed to get an unequivocal hit on the legitimacy of Guaidó’s attempted usurpation and its origins in the US administration on Al Jazeera yesterday (or maybe Saturday) despite some serious moving right along from interviewer Darren Jordan, who clearly had some genuine time contraints but also–or, so it seemed–some externally imposed contraint constraints–to work to. Whenever Al Jazeera’s oft self-proclaimed fearless independence moves too far from the Al Thani political calculations, things always seem to get a bit squirmy at the anchor desk.

eddie
Reader
eddie

Says it all, Bro or Sis. With the aid of a hybrid harvey wallbanger / screaming yellow zonker, your message cast aside any time constraint, whether it moved left or right, up or down..
As you noted, sometimes an externally imposed constraint constrains us, as it will, and our oft-self-proclaimed fearless independepence is cast aside, as things always get a bit squirmy at the anchor desk..

Dustin Daniel Porte, Superspy
Reader
Dustin Daniel Porte, Superspy

Remember the failed CIA coup in Turkey, when CIA said Erdogan is fleeing the country, and we all had to accept the inevitable? And it didn’t happen, and instead Erdogan said, Oh, yeah? Fuck your shitty NATO, and effected a rapproachment with Russia? That was kind of humiliating for CIA. Well CIA did better this time. They had a coup in Venezuela and the president fled to Colombia and we all have to bow to the inevitable. Except, uh, the president is CIA’s puppet ruler, now hiding out in exile like a little pencil-neck wussy coward. Haspel is a fuckup… Read more »

Kathy
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Kathy

The idea of impartial humanitarian aid is no more when it is coming from Western powers. The fact that aid lorries and medical supplies have been used as a foil for weapon smuggling and Mal intent, means they can no longer be trusted. The erosion of sanctuary of aid, shows how deceitful and immoral the warmongers are. Not that this comes as any surprise sadly. Honorability, decency and honesty are long dead . On another point. It is good to hear that Roger Waters has once again called out truths against the lies on Venezuela. As he did on the… Read more »

mark
Reader
mark

Red Cross “aid convoys” were routinely used to ferry jihadi headchoppers and their supplies across the Turkish border into Syria.

Abrams routinely used “aid flights” into El Salvador and Guatemala to smuggle in weapons in the 80s. He said this was perfectly ok, there was nothing wrong with it.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

It was interesting to see on RT yesterday that the Red Cross had issued a statement saying that they were aware that there were people at the Colombia/Venezuela border wearing what appeared to be Red Cross apparel. Diplomatically, the Red Cross said that these people may well have good intentions but they were not Red Cross employees or representatives. If that doesn’t arouse suspicion about the true purpose of the “aid” convoys then nothing will.

John A
Reader
John A

I can just picture that pathetic puppet Guaidó kneeling on that bridge wailing
“A humanitarian aid truck, a humanitarian aid truck, a humanitarian aid truck for my Venezuela”.
Let him be buried in a car park for the next 500 years. Nobody would miss him.

harry stotle
Reader
harry stotle

There have been some pluses.

Who can forget a tearful Sir Richard belting out harmonies when John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ was performed at the climax of his regime-change concert?

Having done their utmost to destroy Venezuela Branson recognises how the US now wants to help by delivering aid and installing a right-wing puppet administration primed to undertake a massive program of asset stripping.

Viva Sir Richard.

Viva Elliot Abrams.

Viva La Guardian.

Michael McNulty
Reader
Michael McNulty

Branson was the subject of a local radio phone-in show back in the ’80s when his star was still rising. One old girl called in and said, “We used to have people like him during the war. Today they call them entrepreneurs but back then we called ’em spivs.”

vierotchka
Reader

Published on 22 Feb 2019

On the eve of another US war for oil, Abby Martin debunks the most repeated myths about Venezuela and uncovers how US sanctions are crimes against humanity with UN investigator and human rights Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas.

An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

tutisicecream
Reader

Yes definitely share this and John Pilger’s piece on Venezuela. http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-war-on-venezuela-is-built-on-lies Where he highlights towards the end the faux liberation politics of the Guardian. It is never ending the craven lip service the Guardian provides to the Neo-liberal cause all in the name of independent journalism. Seriously, what a joke! John Pilger writes about the newspaper which will no longer publish his work: “The Guardian correspondent, Tom Phillips, has tweeted a picture of a cap on which the words in Spanish mean in local slang: “Make Venezuela fucking cool again.” The reporter as clown may be the final stage of… Read more »

vexarb
Reader
vexarb

On a lighter note, here is an up-to-date report of the situation on the ground, including the Virgin Airlines nosedive, from a Syrian source. Why Syrian? Because we are all Venezuelans now: the global AZC is uniting the world — against it. “Canthama #287537 First major PR day for the coup in Venezuela ended up in total fiasco: 1) 24 supposed military defected to Guaidó at the border with Colombia, initially presented as Military Officers and latter shared they were 19 militias and 5 low ranking from different areas of the Venezuelan Armed Forces. Guaidó was filmed receiving those traitors… Read more »

Maggie
Reader
Maggie

Hi Vexarb,
I would have liked to see some links for your excellent post.

Jen
Reader
Jen

With regard to Point 4 of Vexarb’s post (the burning of the aid trucks by right-wing opposition thugs on the Colombian side while Venezuelan troops guarded the border), go to Canthama’s Twitter account (you can Google the guy’s name) and go down the various tweets until you come to this tweet thread: https://twitter.com/garoukike/status/1099417309389688832 Comments here can only hold a maximum of two or three links to external posts to get posted quickly to this thread. The reason that Syrians are interested in the situation in Venezuela as it develops is that a lot of people in Venezuela have Lebanese or… Read more »

Fair dinkum
Reader
Fair dinkum

The Universe came from chaos and it appears the world as we know it will end in chaos.
No superheroes are gonna come to our rescue.
Anyway, they’d be outnumbered by the psychopaths who rule.

vexarb
Reader
vexarb

@Dinkum: “No superheroes are gonna come to our rescue.”

They never did. The greatest superhero in human history was taken up to a high place by the Devil and tempted to Save the World. He replied, this is the way to salvation: blessed are the peacemakers, the meek shall inherit the Kingdom. He died on the cross, the most fiendishly ingenious torture ever devised by the misapplied genius of homo not-so-sapiens.

Like it or not, we have free choice.

notheonly1
Reader
notheonly1

There are ominous parallels with the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003 — an illegal war, as Kofi Annan said on repeated occasions. Shouldn’t it read: There are ominous parallels with the run-up to the Vietnam war, the Yugoslavia war, the first Iraq war, the Afghanistan invasion, the Iraq invasion in 2003, the war on Libya, the bombing and support of terrorists to topple Assad in Syria and no one said that on repeated occasions. The lawless, corporate Fascist Military US Regime reminds me of a very funny movie by Mel Brooks – ‘Life Stinks’ and it is quite… Read more »