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The Crisis in Venezuela: a Chat With the Russian Federation

By Truthout at 2:55 PM 5/31/2020 (PDT)

I recently got the chance to sit down with a representative of the Russian Federation who participated in a UNSC committee on political instability in Venezuela. We discussed the situation and how the UNSC is working to address. Below is a transcript of our interview that’s been edited for brevity.

Truthout: What is the situation in Venezuela for our readers?

The Russian Federation: Recently refugees have been fleeing Venezuela in search of a better life. Venezuela already was suffering with a poor economy. Their inflation rate has increased over 1000% since 1997. The 2018 presidential elections only made things worse. Nicolas Maduro, a socialist candidate, won the election from democratic candidate, Juan Guaido, by a shockingly narrow margin, 51% to 49%. Following the elections, western nations, like the US, accused Maduro and his party of tampering with the election results, which led to over 200 executive orders, sanctions, and tariffs leveled on Venezuela that impacted trade, arms, and travel. It absolutely devastated the Venezuelan economy and led to a crisis.

Truthout: Why is it important to address?

Russian Federation: Millions of Venezuelans are emigrating and seeking refuge across Latin America. The other nations in South America don’t have the resources to handle such a mass migration and are becoming destabilized in the process. This issue isn’t just limited to Venezuela.

Truthout: What are you prioritizing in your resolution?

Russian Federation: We seek to find common ground between western nations and Russia and China to come up with a resolution focused on neutrality. Both blocs in our committee have veto powers, China and Russia on one side, and the US, UK, and France on the other. We don’t want to get locked into a veto war, so we want to create a resolution both sides feel comfortable with. We want to use NGOs to establish aid programs. We also request that western nations, like the US, UK, and France, lift their intense sanctions to help improve the Venezuelan economy. Additionally, the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China would like to establish trade relationships with Venezuela over oil and other natural resources. Ultimately, our goal is providing humanitarian aid to immigrants and setting up refugee camps, which the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China will fund alongside NGOs. We want to provide resources for civilians, like water, food, and shelter.

Truthout: Earlier, I heard discussion about the importance of not taking sides. What does this mean?

Russian Federation: Of course the western bloc supports Juan Guaido because he’s a democratic leader while the other bloc, including Russia, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam, want Nicolas Maduro in power as a stabilizing force, but if we take a side in our resolution it will never get passed. So, we’re trying to focus on not taking a side on who to support in order to prioritze the people

Truthout: Well, that was a very informative interview. Thank you for your time!

Russian Federation: Of course.

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