Venezuela’s Maduro Asks U.N. to Pay Rogue States Under U.S. Sanctions

Nicolás Maduro
DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro used his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to propose the creation of a fund for countries under economic sanctions.

Addressing the assembly in a virtual broadcast from Caracas, Maduro proposed the creation of a “revolving public purchasing fund” within the United Nations to resist the “offensive of criminal, inhumane aggression” of U.S.-imposed sanctions against his country and its allies such as Iran and North Korea, sanctions responding to support for terrorist activity, human rights atrocities, and other illegal behavior.

“This would be a legally binding international instrument on development and the right to development, which will strengthen the struggle of peoples to overcome poverty and social inequalities and for social justice,” Maduro explained. “This will make it possible to face discrimination and the economic blockade against countries by making it easier for governments to acquire necessary goods and services.”

Maduro accused America and some European states of having “frozen and held in bank accounts” much of Venezuela’s wealth. In reality, nations that do not recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela have not allowed him or his surrogates to access Venezuelan government assets. Maduro’s last legal term as president expired in January 2019, so he no longer has the constitutional power to use up public funds.

“More than $30 thousand billion dollars [sic] have been taken from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, frozen and held in bank accounts in the United States and Europe,” he explained. “Likewise, any company or government that commercializes any good or service with our country, be it food, medicine, fuel, additives needed to produce gasoline — which our people need — etc., is being persecuted.”

Maduro went on to claim that Venezuela “facing and experiencing a wave of voluntary, massive returns from the countries with very high levels of COVID-19 infections.” In reality, Venezuela’s crisis has led to millions of people fleeing the country, the majority of whom have no intention of returning to their homeland because of the dire humanitarian crisis and risk of political persecution. The Venezuelan exodus is expected to surpass what is currently the largest in the world — that from Maduro-allied Syria — in the near future.

A study last year from the Brookings Institute found that around 4.6 million Venezuelans have already fled their country since 2015, equivalent to around 16 percent of its population. By the end of 2021, the study estimated that an estimated 8.2 million people will have left the country because their “minimum caloric needs cannot be met” under the current situation.

Maduro insisted that it is in other countries where migrants are experiencing a “systematic violation of their human rights” through “anachronistic and xenophobic policies” imposed by foreign governments.

“As we said, the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] pandemic has catalyzed the already unsustainable living conditions of thousands of migrants in the so-called host countries, who have reported the worsening of abandonment and the lack of response and attention from the authorities in those countries,” he continued. “What has been the reaction of the world? — we wonder — that says to be concerned for Venezuela in the face of these reprehensive facts: complicit silence.”

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