The UN and Venezuela: Reality and Expectations
Since the outbreak of the political crisis in Venezuela, the United Nations have played a weak role to bring about a change in the situation which affects the lives of millions of people in the country. The UN has almost been absent from taking any meaningful action to assert its principle of non-interference of members states in the internal affairs of each other. This allowed great powers and many countries across the world to directly intervene in the political affairs of Venezuela, with some of them calling for a regime change.
The United has noted that “A human rights team is to begin an official visit to Venezuela on Monday at the invitation of the Government, potentially paving the way for an official mission to Caracas by the UN’s top rights official, Michelle Bachelet,” following an invitation from President Nicolas Maduro to High Commissioner, which was reiterated by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza at the 40th Human Rights Council session in Geneva. This long-awaited invitation in the first right step in the right direction.
The crisis in Venezuela is political and economic. Solving it requires starting a dialogue among political parties in the country, sponsored by the UN as a neutral broker. Intervening in the internal affairs of the country by some members states will not help solve the problem and it would only worsen the situation. Examples of interventions by states and great powers in countries such as Iraq, Syria and others have proven destructive and catastrophic. The crisis should only be resolved by bringing Venezuelan parties together by the UN so that they could decide themselves what they need to do for their country.
The visit of the UN delegation to Venezuela is the first step towards peacefully solving the crisis and preventing great powers from intervening in the political affairs of the country which contradicts one of the founding principles of the UN: Non-interference in domestic affairs of states. It is also an invitation to member states which do so to refrain from doing so, since they have ratified the UN charter which strictly states that states should adhere to this principle of non-interference.
The UN should make sure that other member states don’t intervene in Venezuela and let Venezuelans decide for themselves. We have seen the impact of the US regime change policy in Iraq and Syria and the world does not need yet another catastrophe in Latin America. The UN should make sure that global powers, including the US and the European Union don’t intervene in the internal affairs of Venezuela. Instead, these countries should pressure various parties in the country to sit together and reach a solution to the ongoing crisis, which threatens the stability of the people of Venezuela.
People, NGOs and civil society forces should play in pressuring the UN and their countries to do so. The world should not stand idle in light of this interference which does not hold good for Venezuela and its people. The situation in the country is already too bad and many people fled due to inflation and poverty which is caused by corruption and the decline of oil prices. Yet, it is the people of Venezuela who chose their current government and only them have the power to bring another government to power. International interference is the best recipe for civil war and more crime in the country.
The UN should not in particular be impacted by the policies of the Trump Administration in the US in regard to Venezuela. The US Administration has expressed radical positions in regard to Venezuela and unfortunately, some EU countries have followed suit. Such a policy contradicts what the UN stands for and the UN should take more meaningful action to be part of the solution rather than being part of the crisis. The people of Venezuela are looking for solutions rather than starting yet another crisis that would alleviate their suffering and give them some hope to live and make their country a better place in accordance with the UN Strategic Development Goals of 2030.