GENEVA, Sept. 11, 2018 — After Venezuela’s foreign minister today was allowed to make a special address before the UN Human Rights Council, where he told lies to deny his country’s human rights abuses, UN Watch took the floor to respond with testimony on Venezuela’s crimes, and by asking: “Why is the Maduro government a member of this Council? Why have you permitted Foreign Minister Arreaza to address this Council, when his own Government violates the rights of its people with impunity?”

UN Watch was represented by Rosa Salazar Benazar, a Venezuelan human rights advocate and Fellow with UN Watch.

See below: Venezuela FM’s speech, followed by UN Watch’s speech in English and Spanish.

Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela (UN summary)

JORGE ARREAZA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, reminded that a country with a beautiful socialist dream had been subjected to economic sanctions by the United States 45 years ago.  He was referring to Chile – not Venezuela – where a fascist coup d’état organized by the Central Intelligence Agency had led to 17 years of dictatorship, suffering and torture.  Nowadays, the United States continued to impede the dreams of Latin Americans.  This generation grew up under the fear that they would run the same risk as Chile had 45 years ago.   Mr. Arreaza condemned the attack and siege of Venezuela, as well as the unilateral coercive measures against it.  Those measures made it difficult for Venezuela to procure fundamental food stuffs and medicine for its people.  Thousands of millions of dollars were needed to ensure that all Venezuelans were vaccinated.  Venezuelans had lost some 100 million dollars in banks in Switzerland.  In addition, recently, there had been an assassination attempt against President Nicolas Maduro and some military officials.  The plot had been planned in Miami in the United States.

The economic crisis had led to forced migration, which had in turn been used to tarnish the image of Venezuela.  The Government had in place a programme called “Return to the Homeland” to achieve the return of its citizens.  Mr. Arreaza rejected the reports of the outgoing High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, which had always been biased against Venezuela.  He expressed hope that the new High Commissioner would uphold her independence and mandate.  The Human Rights Council could count on the full cooperation of Venezuela and President Maduro.  The Council had to reject unilateral coercive measures against any country.  Venezuela had a complete and full social protection system.  Healthcare was free of charge for all despite the difficulty of having trained medical doctors.  Education was free of charge for everyone, and the Government had built thousands of housing units.  Unemployment was below 6 per cent, and despite the crisis food had been provided to some six million homes.  Lastly, President Maduro, in spite of the sanctions and pressures, had undertaken economic recovery efforts.  Venezuela would not allow a repeat of what had happened 45 years ago in Chile.

UN Watch Responds
Thank you Mr. President.
I’m reading this speech in the name of United Nations Watch and Rosa Orozco, who unfortunately couldn’t travel from Venezuela:
“My name is Rosa Orozco and I am the mother of Geraldine Moreno.  Four years ago, the Venezuelan government cruelly took my sweet girl from me.
My nightmare began on February 19, 2014. That night, Geraldine left the house to protest pacifically against the violations of our fundamental rights by the Venezuelan government. Sadly. the government responded with violence. A National Guard officer shot directly to her face and left her lying in the street in a pool of blood.
It pains me – even today – to talk about the unimaginable loss I have suffered.  But I am heartened by the prospect that my presence here today will provide a voice to so many other victims of repression in Venezuela.  I thus speak today not only for Geraldine, but for the more than 224 other Venezuelans that have been killed during protests and for the 400 that remain deprived of liberty today, including opposition leaders and human rights activists Leopoldo López, Juan Requesens, and Lorent Saleh.
Geraldine may be gone now, but her fight to defend human rights should resonate with you all today.
This is why I must ask, Mr. President: why is the Maduro government a member of this Council?
Why have you permitted Foreign Minister Arreaza to address this Council, when his own Government violates the rights of its people with impunity?”
Thank you Mr. President.
SPANISH
Gracias, Sr. Presidente.
Este discurso lo leo en nombre de United Nations Watch y Rosa Orozco, a quien desafortunadamente le resultó imposible viajar desde Venezuela:
“Mi nombre es Rosa Orozco y soy la madre de Geraldine Moreno.  Hace cuatro años, el gobierno venezolano le quitó la vida a mi dulce hija.
Mi pesadilla comenzó el 19 de febrero de 2014.  Esa noche, Geraldine había salido a la calle para protestar pacíficamente contra los atentados del gobierno venezolano a nuestros derechos fundamentales.  Lamentablemente, el Gobierno respondió con violencia.  Un oficial de la Guardia Nacional le disparó en el rostro y la dejó tirada en la calle en un charco de sangre.
No es sino con gran pesar y dolor que logro relatar esta pérdida inimaginable.  Pero me alienta saber que mi presencia aquí hoy les dará una voz a tantas otras víctimas de la represión en Venezuela.  Por lo tanto, hablo hoy no sólo en nombre de Geraldine sino también en nombre de los más de 224 otros venezolanos asesinados en protestas y los 400 individuos que permanecen privados de libertad por desafiar al Gobierno, incluidos los líderes opositores Leopoldo López, Juan Requesens y Lorent Saleh.
Aunque Geraldine ya no esté con nosostros, su lucha para defender los derechos humanos debe resonar con todos ustedes hoy.
Es por eso que le debo preguntar, Sr. Presidente, ¿por qué se permite que el gobierno de Maduro sea miembro de este Consejo?
¿Por qué le ha permitido al canciller Arreaza intervenir ante este Consejo, cuando su propio gobierno encarcela, tortura y asesina a nuestro pueblo con impunidad?”
Gracias Sr. Presidente.

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