Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 20, 2020
Thank you, Sven. Under-Secretary General DiCarlo, I want to thank you for your briefing today. It is most unfortunate that some Council members have insisted on wasting your time today.
The letter from the illegitimate Maduro regime that prompted today’s meeting is – as such letters always are – a long-winded compilation of fantastical accusations and demonstrable falsehoods. Unfortunately, for the second time in less than a month our Russian colleagues have indulged their client regime’s habit of blaming others for its appalling choices.
But I am here today to tell you that the United States has no plans to cooperate with such attempts to avoid responsibility. Since 2018, this corrupt, criminal, and illegitimate regime has overseen some 7,000 – I’m going to say that again – 7,000 extrajudicial killings. It has used food as a political weapon. It engages in torture and human trafficking. And its strategy for combatting COVID-19 involves detaining medical professionals and independent journalists who attempt to inform the public of the risks posed by the virus. There is no question that these are the regime’s choices, freely made.
Of course, it would be inconvenient indeed for the regime to acknowledge its decisions to murder, to starve, and to traffic the Venezuelan people. So instead, they attempt to distract and misdirect – as they are doing now with claims of a supposed coup attempt, with the aim of providing cover for even more extrajudicial killings and murders.
President Trump and Secretary Pompeo have already made clear that the United States was not involved in Operation Gideon. I’ll repeat it again, the United States has not entered Venezuela and categorically rejects any claims to the contrary. The United States was not involved in the alleged armed incursion of May 3 and 4.
In fact, the only nations that appear to be violating Venezuela’s sovereignty are Russia and Cuba, who – without approval from the National Assembly – routinely send military officers and mercenaries into the country. I must admit, it is perplexing to see these self-appointed champions of the Venezuelan people doing everything in their power to prevent ordinary Venezuelans from even expressing their political desires, let alone acting on them.
We encourage the Council to look closely into the role of the Maduro regime in creating this supposed crisis, and especially into interference by the vast Cuban intelligence apparatus in Venezuela. Furthermore, we reiterate President Juan Guaido’s call for unbiased investigations into the roundups, extrajudicial killings, and torture that have resulted from Maduro’s repression.
As the United States investigates the alleged operation, more details are coming to light. We cannot yet share with you all that we have learned, but we can say this: it is obvious that the alleged operation was discovered long before. It was even publicly noted almost a week before, as there was a public address by the regime laying out its plans and highlighting that any efforts had been fully penetrated by the regime.
As these investigations move forward, our focus must remain on the Venezuelan people; on the return of genuine democracy to the country; on the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need; and on the specific and undeniable abuses committed by the illegitimate Maduro regime.
In the end, today’s meeting is about whether we are willing, collectively and individually, to acknowledge plain truths. For our part, the Trump Administration will not avert its eyes from the evil the regime has visited on the Venezuelan people. Thankfully, the same can be said for many Council members here today – but not for all of them. And I can only hope that a time will come when all members see fit to disavow such willful blindness.