The text below is remarks by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mariya Zakharova regarding the situation in Venezuela and actions of the US-led bloc (source):
Current situation in Venezuela
US President Donald Trump said at a meeting with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido’s wife on March 27, that the United States would consider “all options” to force Russia to pull its troops from Venezuela. Vice President Mike Pence, who also attended the meeting, called on Russia to immediately “cease all support of the Maduro regime and stand with […] nations across the world until freedom is restored.”
At the same time, speaking at Congressional hearings, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explicitly said that the United States’ aim is not only Nicolas Maduro’s withdrawal from politics but also the cessation of Russian and Cuban influence on the Bolivarian Republic.
This begs the question for the above individuals as to the legal basis for those statements:
A) international law
B) US domestic legislation
C) other legal acts nobody else is aware of
To be honest, this is not a rhetorical question. We would still like to have it answered.
Let me stress again. Russian specialists arrived in Venezuela in accordance with the provisions of the bilateral agreement on military technical cooperation. This document has not been suspended. The Russian side has not violated anything – neither international agreements nor Russian national law, nor Venezuelan law. Russia is not tipping the balance in the region. Russia is not threatening anybody unlike certain Washington, D.C. residents whose statements I have just quoted.
I would like to underscore once again that this is the principled position of Russia, which we strictly follow.
In this respect a declaration made by the Lima Group came to our attention which condemns “any provocation or military deployment that threatens peace and security in the region.” Dear Latin Americans and Canadians, we are totally united with you on this. Moreover, we support the call to all nations to assist in looking for solutions to restore constitutional order in Venezuela. This primarily concerns curbing the provocative activities of the impostor, the so-called “acting president” on undermining the legal foundations of Venezuela’s statehood, as well as the need to put an end to the global international bullying of the legally elected president.
As to the statements by the US President and Secretary of State, we regard them as an arrogant attempt to dictate to two sovereign states the way they should build their relations. I would like to remind you that proconsuls were appointed in Ancient Rome to govern the provinces. Neither Russia nor Venezuela is a US province.
This underlies the basic difference between nations abiding by international law – and there are too many to list them all – and the group of nations who make up pretexts for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.
Regarding Washington’s idea of who we “must” support in Venezuela. Russia supports the legitimate authorities. This phrase contains two key words – legitimate and authorities. It is legitimate because only Venezuela’s people have the right to elect their leaders in accordance with the national Constitution. If there are other interpretations, we would like to ask the US a carefully worded question: What legal grounds does the US have to make statements like the ones made in the last 24 hours? The Venezuelan people made their choice.
The authorities – because there are no authorities in Venezuela except President Nicolas Maduro’s government. Mr Guaido can claim to be whoever he wants. Such cases are recorded in history and in medicine. Let’s look at reality itself, which Mr Pompeo spoke about in a different context. Law and reality in this case coincide. Juan Guaido has no real authority no matter where his wife goes. By the way, this is exactly what the US Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said recently. We must agree with him on that. I am not sure if the White House and other members of the US administration are aware of his statements but they can read them.
By denying Nicolas Maduro the right and obligations of authority, Washington and its proxies are denying the people of Venezuela “here and now” the right to live in a country which has authorities. I believe Washington explains its actions in Venezuela by the interests of the Venezuelan people having state services, government protection and government-provided public order. We see a steady chain of actions targeting stability: imposing sanctions on the financial, petroleum, and gold-mining industries, introducing division in society, armed forces, attempts to forcefully bring “humanitarian aid,” the continuous sabotage of the country’s energy system. Yet another attack was made the other day – this time on the transmission lines from the Guri hydroelectric power station that was under cyber attack three weeks ago. Such facts can be listed ad infinitum. All of this is the conscious provoking of chaos and the collapse of the state where no one can win. Do you understand this in Washington, D.C? We have asked the same question regarding other nations, and we have been right.
We would like to go back to the talks between high-ranking Russian diplomats and Mr Elliott Abrams, which took place in Rome on March 19. We have the impression that, after all, the Americans consider dialogue between the involved parties as a way of resolving the complicated situation in Venezuela. I would like to remind you that the legitimate Venezuelan government is ready to begin a negotiating process and dialogue and has said this many times. This is precisely the Russian principled approach. We are urging everyone to face reality and be guided by common sense.
Let us continue to talk about compliance with law. The other day pseudo-diplomats representing the self-declared President Juan Guaido, with support from US police, broke into the buildings of the Venezuelan General Consulate in New York and the Venezuelan Defence Attaché’s Office in Washington D.C., which were earlier abandoned by Venezuelan diplomats following the severance of diplomatic relations between the two countries. These actions are a flagrant violation of the provisions of Articles 22 and 45 of the Vienna Convention, which refer to commitments to ensure diplomatic mission safety. We see Washington extend the tactics it has widely used in recent years to illegally seize diplomatic property, in particular, Russian diplomatic property, to other sovereign states as well. Reciprocity has always been the underlying principle of diplomacy. Does this mean that by helping break into Venezuelan foreign missions, the Americans will approve the same treatment of their diplomatic missions in Venezuela?
Nevertheless, I would like to conclude my comment on Venezuela on a positive note. We continue to provide assistance to that country’s legitimate government to stabilise the political situation and overcome the socioeconomic crisis in the country. A few days ago, a new humanitarian aid shipment containing medical modules was delivered to Caracas, in keeping with basic UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182 and in response to the Venezuelan Government’s request. We are calling on all responsible members of the international community to also observe the rules, rather than impose “welfare” by force.
The 14th meeting of the High Level Intergovernmental Commission headed by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov and Vice President for Economic Area and Minister of Industry and National Production of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Tareck El Aissami will take place next week. We are looking forward to reviewing in detail the issues related to trade, economic and investment cooperation and signing a number of economic, trade, energy and education agreements.
I would like to recall a situation, which is not completely similar but has some things in common with a situation that we witnessed in another part of the world, specifically Libya, when some hasty decisions were taken and international laws were even evoked to substantiate these decisions for the benefit of the people of that country.
We all remember well – not that many years have passed – how the decisions, which were explained by concerns about the future of Libya, various benefits for the country and the need to restore democracy and freedom there, were taken and how quickly they were pushed through. All this was done in the interest of the Libyan people. We can see what happened there afterwards.
For several years now we can see international conferences follow one after another, donor groups meet and negotiations, roundtable discussions and symposia take place to address the situation in Libya. Maybe it is time, at last, to do it the other way around and first hold conferences, roundtable discussions and symposia, and discuss, including with the involvement of high-ranking official representatives from various countries, the future of a region, a country or a people, asking the people in question if they need this kind of help, and only then proceed to action? As things stand, we see a growing number of countries with, frankly speaking, an undecided future and a statehood that has crumbled and will not be restored no matter how much someone wants this to happen. We see the suffering of people that is incomparable with the problems that the relevant actions were supposed to resolve. These scenarios are multiplying.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands and the US sign an agreement on the use of Curacao island facilities for humanitarian supplies to Venezuela
The theme “good humanitarian intentions” by several Western countries, headed by Washington, towards Venezuela is in the spotlight; everyone is discussing it. We could not stay away from the agreement between the Netherlands and the US, signed on March 15, which allows the use of Curacao (a member state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) as a hub for humanitarian supply distribution to Venezuela.
At first glance, this document looks like permission for the US to access facilities on Curacao in order to use them to provide humanitarian aid to Venezuela and third countries “affected by the crisis in the Bolivarian Republic” and only “through civil means.”
One interesting detail. The Curacao parliament and government were very cautious about this idea at first, because they wished for no tensions in their relations with Caracas. Nevertheless, they were “pressed” in the end with the promise that Curacao’s infrastructure would not be used for military purposes. This means that The Hague gave the US carte blanche to use its former colony as a platform for aggressive intervention in Venezuelan affairs under the veneer of humanitarian pretenses.
However, it turns out that this deal does not exclude the use of “other,” not just civil, means of delivery if necessary. The implication is clear: military delivery.
We hope that Curacao’s authorities will not allow their island to be used as yet another base for the West’s escapades that will seriously destabilise the region.