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Inhumane humanitarian aid from the United States

Why is there so much interest in humanitarian aid in Venezuela? Why is there not the same level of interest in helping others? Put simply, it’s pure interventionism and governments know it.

 

Ibis Frade

 

Eight years ago, NATO forces bombed Libya. Now, this African nation is living in fear of chaos that caused a migratory crisis and triggered an increase in networks dedicated to human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The justification for that was ‘humanitarian intervention’, and in that same vein, military strikes were deployed in Yemen and Syria. The disastrous consequences of which are well known around the world.

On the other hand, the current United States administration has suspended aid to the besieged Palestinian people, abused defenceless children at its borders, and continues to provoke wars with no legal basis, leaving humanitarian crisis in its path.

Despite this history, the United States Government and the Venezuelan opposition talk today of humanitarian intervention and are pushing to get aid into the country which would be accompanied with military force. The opposition doesn’t care about all of the negative consequences that an intervention (of any kind) would have for the civilian population.

Isaias Medina, who, in 2017, left his post as Venezuelan Ambassador to the multilateral organisation and continues to live in the United States, now views humanitarian aid with military support as a viable way to bring ‘help’.

Whilst the North American government imposes economic sanctions on Venezuela and freezes the nation’s assets which have a value of about 20 million dollars, it promises an ‘assistance’ of 20 million, a ridiculous figure when compared to any Pentagon operation.

They talk of humanitarian aid but maintain in force sanctions which prevent access to medicine and other essential items, the Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the UN, Samuel Moncada, explains.

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, heavily criticised Washington’s stance, calling it a complete farce of a cynical government, claiming that it also denied humanitarian aid to its fellow citizens in Puerto Rico after hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, also noted that the United States uses humanitarian aid as a pretext for military aggression and to conceal its intentions to stage a coup in Venezuela. In fact, senior officials of the Northern Government refer to military intervention as a viable option to address the situation in Venezuela.

The United States administration has already sent a ‘consignment of humanitarian aid’ to Venezuela’s border with Colombia and has shown its intention to hand it over to the opposition, Juan Guaidó, who proclaimed himself President of Venezuela.

The Red Cross in Colombia has decided to stay out of it; it doesn’t want to participate in a distribution that does not comply with the parameters of humanitarian aid, principles such as independence, impartiality and neutrality.

The role of the UN in the situation in Venezuela.

United Nations has made a number of appeals to not encourage more tension and to find a political solution through dialogue. At the same time, it highlights that the assistance should be depoliticised and independent of political or military objectives.

At the end of January, the highest ranking official of the UN, António Guterres, pointed out that any humanitarian aid from the multilateral organisation to Venezuela should be coordinated beforehand with the Government of that country.

In response to a letter sent by Guaidó, the Secretary General stated that they are ready to increase these activities, but they must seek prior approval from Caracas.

Similarly, various UN agencies work as part of a network in Venezuela to offer assistance in areas such as health and food. Meanwhile, it is coordinating efforts with neighbouring countries to meet the demands of Venezuelan refugees.

These mechanisms established by the UN don’t appear to be enough for those that are particularly interested in ‘humanitarian intervention’ and reject dialogue in search of a political solution, as advocated by the UN.

Many Latin American and Caribbean countries have launched forward-looking initiatives to encourage negotiations between the parties in Venezuela, but the opposition has rejected dialogue. Meanwhile, Washington is exerting pressure in the international arena to recognise an illegitimate government in Caracas.

The UN maintains its offer of good offices for negotiations, although so far it declined to participate in the various options put forward by Mexico, Uruguay and the Caribbean Community.

In the interests of giving credibility to the offer of good offices (in the event that the parties do request it), the UN Secretary decided not to be part of it.

The UN, Gueterres and the majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries do not advocate for ‘humanitarian intervention’ but for a political and peaceful solution through dialogue.

In fact, the doctrine of humanitarian intervention is the subject of controversy in law and international relations. The term ‘humanitarian’ should be reserved only for action which aims to mitigate the victims’ suffering, but ‘human intervention’ refers to military action that often involves a political agenda. Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Syria are just some of the states that have suffered the consequences.

Still, the United States representation in the UN continues to hold on to the same argument and presses heavily to secure its interests, through either Security Council Resolution or in the General Assembly.

The recent visit of ex-ambassador Medina to the UN to talk about the situation in his country, which he hasn’t been to in more than three years, is another link from a chain of events relating to Venezuela that is not by chance.

Again, the United States and its allies call a government elected by the majority a ‘dictatorship’ and ask for ‘humanitarian intervention’. (PL)

(Translated by Corrine Harries – Email: corrine.harries@ch-translations.com) – Photos: Wikimpedia y Wikimedia Commons

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