US Vice President Mike Pence has called on the UN to recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s President and to revoke the credentials of the incumbent Nicolas Maduro government’s ambassador to the international organisation.
“With all due respect, Mr. Ambassador, you shouldn’t be here. You should return to Venezuela and tell Nicolas Maduro that his time is up. It’s time for him to go,” Mr. Pence told Venezuela’s UN representative, Samuel Moncada, during a Security Council meeting here on Wednesday.
“The time has come for the UN to recognise interim President Juan Guaido as the legitimate President of Venezuela and seat his representative in this body,” said Mr. Pence.
The US was the first country of more than 50 nations to recognise Mr. Guaido and wants the UN to revoke the credentials of Maduro’s envoys and allow Guaido to be the one to name an ambassador to represent Venezuela before the international body, reports Efe news.
Mr. Pence announced that the US delegation is working on a resolution to that end, although diplomatic sources say that the initiative will encounter rough going.
In the Security Council, Russia and China — both of whom have veto power on all resolutions — continue to back Maduro, while in the General Assembly, where all 193 member states are seated, Washington would have to convince the more than 120 countries who have not recognised Mr. Guaido.
The move comes after the Organization of American States on Tuesday recognised an emissary from Mr. Guaido, Gustavo Tarre, until elections can be held in Venezuela, though the Maduro government says that Venezuela will leave the OAS effective April 27.
Mr. Pence said that the US “will continue to exert all diplomatic and economic pressure to bring about a peaceful transition to democracy in Venezuela. But all options are on the table”.
He also said that “drug traffickers, criminal gangs, even terrorists like Hezbollah, are exploiting the chaos in Venezuela to gain a foothold in the region and export crime and violence. Were we to let the crisis continue, the chaos and suffering will only spread”.
Therefore, he said that the UN, and specifically the Security Council, must act to guarantee peace and stability and to help the Venezuelan people.
In response, Mr. Moncada said that all US actions are aimed at “imposing a government subordinate” to Washington’s interests in Venezuela.
That accusation was also made by Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, who said that the only thing Washington is interested in is regime change so that a puppet leader can be installed in Caracas to protect US geostrategic interests.
Nebenzia said the US “has artificially provoked a crisis in this country in order to overthrow a legitimately elected leader and replace him with their own pawn”.
“If you want to ‘make America great again’, and we’re all sincerely interested in seeing that, stop interfering in the affairs of other states,” said the Russian representative, referring to the slogan used by US President Donald Trump.
According to figures provided by the UN, some seven million Venezuelans, about 25 per cent of the country’s population, need some sort of humanitarian help.