May 20, 2020
1. Thank you for convening this meeting to discuss the situation in Venezuela, especially the terrorist attack that took place on 03 May, as well as the looming threat of a new armed attack, in an imminent breach of the peace in my country should the aggression continue.
2. When signing the UN Charter, we all committed “to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace,”. Today, this provision is being violated, with impunity, and in contempt of the Charter.
3. In a letter to the Security Council, dated 13 May 2020, we demonstrated the world the armed aggressions against my country, which, as per public and irrefutable evidence, proved that the governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Colombia facilitated the planning, training, financing and, still today, are protecting groups of mercenaries and terrorists, who executed an armed attack with the objective of perpetrating
1) indiscriminate killings of innocent civilian population;
2) selected killings against high-level officials of my government; and
3) the assassination of President Nicolás Maduro.
4. This is a manifest violation of the UN Charter, international law and multiple resolutions of this Security Council, which are legally binding to all Member States. The governments of the Colombia and the United States of America violated their obligations under international law, particularly the ones provided by the following four (04) resolutions:
1) Security Council resolution 239 (1967), which condemns that a State permits or tolerate “the recruitment of mercenaries, and the provision of facilities to them, with the objective of overthrowing the Governments of States Members of the United Nations”.
2) Security Council resolution 1269 (1999), which calls upon States to “prevent and suppress in their territories through all lawful means the preparation and financing of any acts of terrorism”.
3) Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), which decides that all States shall both refrain from providing any form of support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, including by suppressing their recruitment and the supply of weapons to terrorists, and deny safe heaven to those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist acts.
4) Security Council resolution 1456 (2003), which calls upon States to “assist each other, to the maximum extent possible, in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of acts of terrorism, wherever they occur”, while stressing that “States must bring to justice those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist acts or provide safe heavens, in accordance with international law, in particular on the basis of the principle to extradite or prosecute”.
5. As of today, the governments of the United States of America and Colombia continue to refuse any sort of contact with relevant Venezuelan authorities, in order to establish the facts and avoid impunity by ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice. As a result, those governments violate their obligations under existing bilateral treaties on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. Even more, the U.S. government continues to provide safe haven to the leaders of the armed incursion against Venezuela.
6. Today, I must report that the operations to capture the individuals who were involved in this armed aggression are still ongoing, as we are aware of the existence of other groups of mercenaries and terrorists who were trying to carry out their criminal plans in other regions of our country. As a matter of fact, an attack against our National Water System took place on 14 May, which, apart from constituting itself a clear violation of Security Council resolution 2341 (2017) on the protection of critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks, confirms the veracity of the public statements of the criminals who still remain at large, regarding the preparations of new aggressions and the training of new groups of mercenaries and terrorists. All this occurs while further evidence continues to see the light clearly pointing to both Washington and Bogota, as the main plotters behind the aggression.
7. Moreover, there are at least three (03) additional developments that I must denounce today, as they are part of the continued campaign of aggressions against my country:
1) Firstly, on 13 May the U.S. government included Venezuela in an unlawful and unilateral list to falsely blame my country as one that does not cooperate with counterterrorism efforts. Nothing more cynical than such an accusation, which comes days after an armed attack with mercenaries and terrorists, with full support of U.S. government officials and the direct participation of U.S. citizens and companies. In addition, the following day, on 14 May, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters Agency that consideration was being given to the designation of several Venezuelan security agencies as “terrorist organizations”. This is a manifest threat to the peace and security of my country, as the U.S. government is aiming to fabricate a narrative in which, according to its supremacist notion that claims its national laws as universal, it may take “decisive action” and proceed with the assassination of top officials from Venezuela’s security and intelligence agencies, and, by using its propaganda machine, then twist the crime and present it as a counter-terrorism operation. It is a sad fact of our times that the U.S. government expects to openly get away with murder by normalizing the unlawful killing of top national officials around the world through the sheer use of brute force.
2) Secondly, as we have denounced in previous letters to the Security Council, the U.S. government has openly admitted to exert pressure on companies to refrain from supplying gasoline to Venezuela, thus, resulting in the current shortages that exist today throughout the country. In this context, allow me to pose the following question: what would happen if, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City is deliberately left without gasoline? This would, indeed, account to a crime against humanity, which is precisely what the government of President Donald Trump is perpetrating against thirty (30) million Venezuelans. Today, the coercion is coupled with a new peril: the threat of use of military force against five (05) Iranian tankers with fuel that are en route to Venezuela, in violation, amongst others, of freedom of trade and navigation. In case the threat is materialized, it would constitute an actual armed aggression against a civilian Iranian vessel and against the Venezuelan people as a whole. In this context, it shall be stressed that a naval blockade is an act of war under international law, particularly if not authorized by the UN Security Council on the basis of Article 41 of the Charter or applied pursuant to the right of self-defense. Therefore, the current threats of the U.S. administration are nothing more than a military act of aggression against civilian vessels carrying vital goods for our people and coming from a country that has engaged in legal trade with mine. In the midst of a pandemic, forbidding those vessels from reaching our ports would thus constitute a crime against humanity. Perversely, the U.S. government insists to portray itself as our “savior”, claiming to be the “major donor” of humanitarian assistance to Venezuela and now even dares to accuse our government of obstructing the provision of U.S. assistance, when the truth is that everyone willing to support our country has been able to do so, through relevant UN Agencies.
3) And thirdly, on 13 May, international media revealed the existence of a “Venezuela Reconstruction Unit” within the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, through which discussions were held between UK officials, figures of the Venezuelan opposition and the plotters of the recent armed attack on the need to provide a special status to British business in my country after the aggression was successfully carried out. This new evidence that has now seen light, together with the pillage of over USD $1.7 billion in Venezuelan gold by the Bank of England, demonstrates, once again, how the British government is an opportunistic accomplice in the colonial looting of Venezuelan wealth. In addition, British warships remain off our territorial waters, in a hostile attitude, together with Dutch, French and U.S. warships, conveniently disguised as anti-drug trafficking operations, but actually aimed at illegally establishing a naval blockade against our nation. The use of military threats with propaganda operations is a replay of the old trick of plausible deniability used in covert assaults.
8. I must also report the mind-blowing news that just hours ago international media revealed that a powerful Colombian drug trafficking organization, known as “Los Pachenca”, which controls that northern region of La Guajira and which supported the mercenaries and terrorists that participated in the armed attack of 03 May against my country, is in possession of precise operational details on the surveillance routes and the locations of Colombian and U.S. warships in the Caribbean. This official and “top secret” information is being used by this cartel to avoid the very same military forces that are patrolling the area, allegedly, for counter-narcotic purposes. This proves that the real objective of warships in my region is not to fight drug trafficking, but to attack Venezuela instead. This is yet another evidence of the coordination that exists between the intelligence agencies of those countries and narco-paramilitary groups. It is a classic example of the “all options are on the table” strategy; of the clandestine war against Venezuela, even using as its cover an alleged war on drugs. Behind it all, there is the same mind that applied this same combination in Nicaragua during the 80’s; that is, the use of drug lords, covert operations and mercenaries in a dirty war. Cruelly, one of the individuals who was responsible for this over 35 years ago is now repeating his crimes, today, in Venezuela. Literally, the very same individual. I am referring to Eliott Abrams, one of the darkest characters in our region’s history.
9. On 14 December 1974, the General Assembly adopted unanimously resolution 3314 (XXIX), which defines an aggression as “the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations”, and include as such acts both “the blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by the armed forces of another State” and “the sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregular or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State”. This text perfectly fits the description of the recent events in Venezuela.
10. Consequently, while urging the Security Council to fulfill its duties and responsibilities in relation to the maintenance of international peace and security, we request it to, once and for all, determine: first, the threat that the warmongering policies of the governments of Colombia and the United States of America represent to the peace of both Venezuela and the region; second, to recognize the acts of aggressions that have been committed against my country and, third, demand the perpetrators to immediately bring to an end the use or threat of use of force and the commission of further armed attacks, including through the use of mercenaries and terrorists.
11. The U.S. government and its allies are creating a lawless space in international relations where they can ignore their obligations under international law and impose tyrannical, whimsical and colonial practices over the rest of the world. Thus, the supremacy of their national interest justifies the most abhorrent crimes, as is the case of protecting the “good terrorists and mercenaries” that attacked Venezuela if they serve well the expansion of U.S. power. The Security Council must enforce the notion of legality in international relations, under the principle of “no consideration of whatever nature may serve as justification for aggression”. That is the only way to further peace and security among nations.
12. Today, in the middle of a deadly pandemic that is affecting all of humanity and which requires the full attention of our national government to protect the life of our people, we are facing an imminent armed attack that, for its genocidal effects, amounts to a crime against humanity. Given the seriousness of the situation and its potential escalation, the inaction of the Security Council at the current juncture will embolden those governments to continue with their warmongering and criminal plans. It is a fact that the Colombian and U.S. governments have doubled down their aggression against Venezuela, in contempt for international law and the UN Charter, and in a demonstration of their unrepentant and recidivist nature.
13. Allow me to conclude by insisting that our country does not represent a threat to anyone and expects that everyone learns this lesson: Venezuela is not for sale, it will never be a colony and our people, with serenity and determination, will fulfil its duty to be free.
I thank you, Mr. President