Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó announced Sunday he will send a delegation to the United Nations General Assembly despite not being invited, as the U.N. still recognizes socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro as the nation’s chief executive.
Guaidó became president of Venezuela in January after Maduro’s legal presidential term expired. He holds an interim title, tasked with organizing free and fair elections, as per the Venezuelan constitution. Maduro has refused to give up his position, however, and retains control of the nation’s military, making it almost impossible for Guaidó to exercise any of his powers. The fact that Maduro refused to step down after his term ended allowed the nation’s legislature to constitutionally appoint a president to replace him.
Despite this, Guaidó’s administration has established formal diplomatic relations with over 50 countries, including most in the Western Hemisphere. The United States expelled Maduro’s envoys from the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington and have given control over to Guaidó’s ambassador, Carlos Vecchio.
“We have formed a delegation that will represent our government and all Venezuelans next week before the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations,” Guaidó announced Sunday on Twitter. “This delegation has a mandate to construct agreements with the principal leaders of the world to increase the pressure against the dictatorship and support the people of Venezuela before the grave crisis our country is facing.”
As the delegation will not legally be allowed to participate in the U.N. General Assembly, Guaidó listed the engagements that the group will partake in, including a meeting with the “Lima Group,” a Latin American coalition against Maduro; bilateral meetings with friendly states (presumably the United States among them), and “working group” meetings on specific problems facing Venezuela, including its migrant crisis and the gross human rights violations by the Maduro regime.
La delegación enviada a Naciones Unidas estará encabezada por el Comisionado para Relaciones Exteriores @JulioBorges; y participarán también el Embajador ante los EE.UU @carlosvecchio y el Comisionado para la Ayuda Humanitaria @Miguel_Pizarro, así como diputados y víctimas.
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) September 22, 2019
The United Nations has soundly rejected Guaidó’s call to put pressure on Maduro to step down and allow for the country to return to its democratic tradition. Maduro’s regime served on the U.N. Human Rights Council until completing its term this year, represented by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. The U.N. invited Maduro to speak at this year’s General Assembly and dismissed the possibility of yielding to the international consensus that Guaidó is the nation’s president, based on the Venezuelan constitution.
Asked this month if Guaidó would be invited to the General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres flatly rejected the idea. Guterres instead told reporters that the United Nations kept “regular contact” with Guaidó’s team, which he referred to as “the opposition,” despite being the legal executive administration of the country.
Maduro rejected Guterres’s invitation to speak at the General Assembly this year, failing to repeat on his appearance in 2018.
“I went to New York last year, this year I am not going, this year I am staying here with you working in Venezuela,” Maduro said last week, amid rumors that he fears leaving Venezuela and having his top military leaders stage a coup against him. Maduro is planning to send Arreaza and Vice President Delcy Rodríguez. Maduro ordered the two to hand to Guterres a petition allegedly signed by millions of Venezuelans – at the threat of losing their jobs, not receiving government food rations, or worse – condemning American President Donald Trump.
“The Venezuelan people say no more embargo, no more sanctions, no more aggression from the empire [America],” Maduro denounced last week.
Arreaza posted a message on Twitter Sunday vowing that, while at the United Nations, he would discuss “climate change, poverty reduction, and educational inclusivity.” In a statement on the official foreign ministry website, the Maduro regime claimed that the United States was “responsible for the largest part of the accelerated deterioration of the environment and of natural phenomena” and that Venezuela would participate in shaming Washington for this. The statement did not mention China, a longtime Maduro ally and the world’s most prolific polluter.
The Maduro regime is responsible for some of the most devastating economic damage in South America. As oil production has plummeted – a product of the Maduro and prior Hugo Chávez regimes nationalizing the industry – Maduro has had to increasingly rely on gold as a currency to continue paying for the lavish lifestyles of himself and those around him. To keep gold supplies afloat, Maduro has encouraged a sprawling illegal mining industry in the Amazon rainforest, controlled by Marxist terrorist organizations affiliated with the regime.
The Maduro regime has also had few answers to the growing garbage crisis in Caracas. Maduro’s government has failed to routinely dispose of garbage in Caracas for years, leaving feet-tall piles of trash lining the streets throughout the city. Many Venezuelans feed off the few bits of food they can find in the garbage, but the prevalence of waste lining the streets of a tropical city has created a significant medical crisis as insects and bacteria thrive, especially given the near-total lack of medicine in the country.