The UN Violates Venezuela’s Right to Vote on Matters of World Interest

Gustavo A Maranges

RESUMEN | November 06, 2022

This week the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed the resolution presented by Cuba to demand the end of the economic, commercial, and financial blockade of the United States of America over the island. The rejection was overwhelming, but there was a missing vote among those in favor. Venezuela, which traditionally supports Cuba’s position and is also a victim of the same type of unilateral sanctions, was absent.

In this context, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro once again called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to restore his country’s right to vote in the UNGA taking into account that Venezuela owes almost US$40 million, this right was withdrawn in January 2022 for the 5th time in the last 7 years.

The South American country has always been willing to pay, but the U.S. blockade has impeded Venezuela to fulfill its economic obligations. At first, the economic sanctions provoked a crisis that prevented Venezuela from paying its dues. Nevertheless, the current reason is even more Machiavellian.

Despite oil prices on the international market going up and the economic measures implemented by Maduro’s government, Venezuela is still unable to fulfill its UN obligations on time. Today, payment financing is no longer a problem, since the government has the necessary funds to do it. However, unilateral sanctions by the United States prevent the South American country from even having a bank account to make the payment.

This situation may sound unbelievable, but it is real. The economic siege on Venezuela is very comprehensive, to the point that no U.S. bank can provide services to Venezuela. The United States is violating all its Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Law’s commitments and its obligations as the receiving country of an international organization. The receiving country has to guarantee the necessary conditions for accredited embassies to work in a normal way.

This pressure mechanism is not new for revolutionary governments in the region, as it has already been applied to Cuba on several occasions. Cuban diplomatic missions abroad are also affected in the same way. This situation hinders their daily work, the regular services they provide, and even the daily lives of their diplomats. The embassies in Washington and at the UN have been the most affected since they have been denied banking services for several months, on repeated occasions.

However, the case of Venezuela is more concerning since it is not only about the embassy’s daily work but also the sovereign right of the South American country to decide on issues of global interest.

According to the UN Charter, a country with debts higher than two-year quotas loses its right to vote but not to participate or speak, which Venezuela has taken advantage of. However, the same Charter’s Article 19 also reads that the UN may restore the right to vote if it “is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member.” Obviously, this is Venezuela’s situation.

It can’t pay due to an illegal and unfair blockade beyond its control, even when having the financial resources. The Secretary-General has ignored this exception and continues violating Venezuela’s right to vote despite repeated requests from the Maduro  government. This attitude is discriminatory and illegal treatment, not only by the United States but by the United Nations itself.

The hand of Joe Biden’s government is behind all this, as it was with Donald Trump at the time. However, the UN is supposed to be an impartial representative organization where all states are equal, but this shows the pressure and arm twisting the US can exert to keep the playing field tilted in their direction.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – US


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