ColombiaOne.comWorldVenezuela Expels UN Human Rights Delegates

Venezuela Expels UN Human Rights Delegates


Venezuela Human Rights
Venezuela expels UN Human Rights delegates. Credit: @NicolasMaduro / X

Venezuela has expelled representatives from the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, citing a failure to fulfill their intended role, according to Foreign Minister Yvan Gil. Gil stated that the country will reassess all forms of cooperation with the UN Office over the next 30 days. This office has been active in Caracas, the capital, since 2019.

This severe action followed criticism from the international organization’s office regarding the arrest of human rights advocate and Venezuelan critic, Rocio San Miguel, on February 9 at the Caracas airport. Since her arrest, San Miguel’s lawyers report that she has been forcibly disappeared.

The Venezuelan government has not liked the statements made by these international delegates concerning the proliferation of cases of child malnutrition in the Venezuelan population. Recently, this UN office urged the Venezuelan government to combat the root causes of hunger and malnutrition, referring to reports according to which almost 82% of Venezuelans live in poverty and 53% in extreme poverty, with insufficient income to access a basic food basket.

With this decision, the Venezuelan government is giving a 72-hour deadline to senior UN officials to leave Venezuela.

Repression of opponents intensifies

With this action, Venezuela shows that it is increasing its crackdown on domestic opposition. Despite last fall’s Barbados Agreements, aimed at easing tensions with the opposition, the country is taking steps contrary to the agreement’s intent. The series of moves, including arbitrary arrests, barring an opposition candidate, and now expelling international delegates, paints an unpromising picture for this electoral year.

Venezuela has defended its stance against the United Nations, claiming the organization shows unfair bias. It accuses UN officials of siding with those conspiring against the Venezuelan government. “This decision is taken due to the improper role that this institution has developed, which far from showing it as an impartial entity, has led to it becoming the private law firm of the coup and terrorist groups that permanently plot against the country.”

Similarly, Minister Gil’s communiqué affirms that the international Human Rights Office “has maintained a clearly biased and partial position, constantly seeking to generate impunity for those involved in various assassination attempts, coups d’état, conspiracies and other serious attacks against sovereignty.”

Awaiting international reaction

The situation in the country does not exactly invite optimism. The evident intensifying of repressive measures against opponents and international organizations shows that the electoral process to be held in a few months, to elect the president of the country, will not have the democratic conditions of plurality and transparency to which Nicolas Maduro had committed himself by signing the Barbados Agreement.

The international reaction, especially from the United States, will mark the immediate future of a country threatened by the return of the harshest phase of the sanctions that have been destroying the national economy for years.

Michael Fakhri, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, made a statement at the end of a 14-day visit to the country in which he explained that the sanctions have had an impact on the government’s capacity to guarantee basic rights to the citizenry. “Sanctions have been one factor, among others, that has limited the government’s budgetary capacity to implement social protection programs and provide basic public services,” said rapporteur Fakhri, who also called on “all states concerned to immediately review and lift the sectoral sanctions imposed on Venezuela.”

These statements do not seem to have been enough to convince the government of President Maduro of the independent role of UN officials in his country. The future of Venezuela, in this election year, looks bleaker than ever.

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