US officials led allied diplomats in a huffy walkout as Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza stood to address a UN convention on narcotics in Vienna, declaring that he represented an “illegitimate government.”
“The members of the Venezuela delegation here today represent the illegitimate government of Nicolas Maduro, and thus cannot be considered as speaking on behalf of the Venezuelan people,” a US Mission to International Organizations spokesman declared after storming out of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, trailed by officials from several Latin American countries, Canada, and a few European nations, including France.
Arreaza called for a multilateral approach to fighting the scourge of drugs, declaring the US’ “unilateral economic steps” has depleted the nation’s coffers and deprived it of money it could better use to actually fight drugs.
“Today the multilateral model is under threat and the situation of Venezuela is an example of this…The government of the US has threatened our people with a military aggression, with a use of force violating the UN charter,” Arreaza said.
Journalist Anya Parampil retweeted a clip of the walkout, pointing out the irony of shunning the representative of a country’s elected government in a body dedicated to the principle of national sovereignty.
Others had a simpler take on the proceedings.
As Venezuela’s power finally comes back online and its people return to work, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced “the American people are with” the beleaguered Venezuelans, blaming “the Maduro regime” for denying them access to food, medicine, and – of course – democracy.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared “our position is unwavering” with regard to support for Maduro’s government.
Thursday wasn’t the first time US diplomats snubbed the Venezuelan foreign minister – they pulled a similar stunt last month as he called for talks between US President Donald Trump and Maduro in an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Self-declared president Juan Guaido, who anointed himself leader of Venezuela nearly two months ago, promised on Monday to oust Maduro “very soon,” blaming him for the blackouts.
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