Explanation of Vote on a U.S. Draft UN Security Council Resolution on Venezuela

Elliott Abrams
U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela
New York City
February 28, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President. The situation in Venezuela demands our action now. The corrupt former Maduro regime has caused an economic collapse that threatens peace and security throughout the region. Millions of Venezuelans have fled their country in search of food, medicine, and opportunity. The time for a peaceful transition to democracy is now. Each member of the international community that joins in recognizing the Guaido government is supporting the people of Venezuela as they strive to reclaim their democracy.

Mr. President, regrettably, by voting against this resolution some members of this Council continue to shield Maduro and his cronies and prolong the suffering of the Venezuelan people. This man-made crisis has extended well beyond Venezuela’s borders and threatens to destabilize the region. Events from this past weekend show that Maduro will stop at nothing to maintain power – including the use of gang violence against unarmed Venezuelan citizens.

Mr. President, regardless of the results of today’s vote, this resolution shows that democracies around the world, and especially in Latin America, are mobilizing behind interim President Guaido. The United States will remain steadfast in our support for the legitimate Guaido government and the National Assembly. We look forward to genuinely free and fair elections and to a government that reflects the will and aspirations of the Venezuelan people. The United States will pursue all avenues to increase humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans both inside and outside their country.

There was, in fact, an additional aid delivery today to the border region of Cucuta, Columbia: emergency medical kits for 40,000 people, high nutrition food enough for 10,000 infants for two months, hygiene kits for 35,000 people.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our concern about the safety and security of interim President Juan Guaido when he returns to Venezuela, and we hope that all members of the Council will join us in doing so. Now is the time to strengthen our commitment to the Venezuelan people. We call on members of the Security Council to join in this commitment, and I’d like to express satisfaction that a clear majority of the Council did so today.

Thank you.