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The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, intervenes before the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, at the agency's headquarters in New York. Nicolás Maduro said that the humanitarian crisis in his country is being used as an excuse by the United States to justify an international military intervention following "the same scheme of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." EFE/Peter Foley.
The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, speaks before the General Assembly of the United Nations on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, at the agency's headquarters in New York. EFE/Peter Foley.

UN asks Venezuela to open its doors to humanitarian aid

Through a historic resolution, the United Nations is requiring the government of Nicolás Maduro to open its doors to humanitarian assistance to solve the…

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In the midst of all the discussions held during the General Assembly of the United Nations, one of the most critical points has been the debate on the reality that the Venezuelan people live under the regime of Nicolás Maduro.

Representatives of countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico spoke about the serious humanitarian crisis in the neighboring country and how the forced displacement of its citizens has affected the entire region.

That is why a project presented by 13 Member States of the Human Rights Council of the organization was put to a vote on Thursday to force the Maduro government to "cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner" and allow the entry of humanitarian assistance "to address the scarcity of food, medicine and medical supplies, the rise of malnutrition, especially among children, and the outbreak of diseases that had been previously eradicated or kept under control in South America."

Likewise, the resolution approved on Thursday expresses its concern "at the serious human rights violations in a context of a political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis."

The text was co-sponsored by 42 countries including Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Guyana, Honduras, Paraguay and Peru, obtaining 23 votes in favor, 17 abstentions and 7 against.

In June, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published a report detailing violations of human rights in Venezuela, including "arbitrary detention and extrajudicial executions, torture and brutal repression of dissent," according to Human Rights Watch. The office also stressed that "the absence of independent democratic institutions has led to a culture of complete impunity within the government."

Similarly, international organizations estimated that government officials "could have been responsible for more than 500 murders between the months of July 2015 and March 2017," most of which were carried out in poor neighborhoods in the country.

The Council of the United Nations, in the voice of the former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, asked the Maduro government to "cooperate" with the Office of Human Rights.

According to figures from UNHCR, more than 2.3 million Venezuelans have left the country in recent years, 1.6 of which have done so since 2015. Ninety percent of the displaced have stayed in neighboring countries, and currently, some 5,000 Venezuelans leave their country every day.

However, President Maduro has stated that "the immigration crisis is being exaggerated as part of a larger campaign to overthrow his government," the Miami Herald reported.

For his part, the Venezuelan ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Jorge Valero, rejected the resolution, calling it "the beginning of an escalated intervention" by foreign governments.

The Trump government has mentioned several times the option of a “forced” intervention in the Caribbean country, but on Wednesday the president said that a meeting with President Maduro was not ruled out if it "helped the Venezuelan people."

The approval of the resolution for humanitarian aid to the country occurs only a day after President Nicolás Maduro unexpectedly appeared at the General Assembly of the United Nations to "defend his country."

Despite his appearance, presidents of five Latin American governments and Canada met to "sign a complaint with the International Penal Court asking that Maduro is investigated for crimes against humanity," TIME reported.

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