Venezuela’s Maduro calls on UN to rally against US sanctions

Beleaguered leader urges end to ‘coercive measures’ while opposition leader calls for ‘decisive action’ to oust Maduro.

At least 30 countries no longer recognise President Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela [Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters]

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called on the United Nations General Assembly to rally against United States sanctions imposed on his country, as well as its allies including Cuba, Nicaragua and Syria.

“We must demand the cessation of all unilateral coercive measures, of all the alleged sanctions, and that they allow our people to exercise their own rights,” Maduro said in video remarks before the UN.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has ramped up sanctions against Venezuela in the past two years as part of an effort to oust Maduro, who it accuses of corruption, human rights violations, and rigging his 2018 re-election.

Maduro has overseen a six-year economic collapse in the once-prosperous OPEC nation, which the opposition and most economists attribute to Venezuela’s interventionist economic policies.

Venezuela’s ruling socialist party blames the US sanctions for the country’s woes.

Earlier, Maduro also condemned “hegemony” and “imperialist ideas” before the UN body, urging world leaders to unite in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Venezuela supports a multipolar world, a renewed UN system, a system that knows how to enforce international law and protect the people of the world,” he said, while condemning Trump’s attacks on the World Health Organization (WHO).

“This is not the time to insult, to threaten the WHO, it is now the time to unite in its favour,” he said.

Cuba and Nicaragua are two of Maduro’s only remaining allies in Latin America, after left-leaning leaders lost power in countries such as Brazil and Ecuador.

Trump has rolled back a detente with Havana, Washington’s old Cold War foe, that was pursued by his predecessor Barack Obama.

The Trump administration has also sanctioned Nicaraguan individuals and companies in response to what it calls corruption and repression under President Daniel Ortega.

In a later video address, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido – who is recognised as the legitimate president of Venezuela by dozens of countries including the US – urged the international community to take “decisive action” to oust Maduro, without being specific.

“Today I call upon all representatives of the member states … to consider a strategy that contemplates different scenarios after the diplomatic route has been exhausted,” Guaido told representatives of over 30 countries that recognise him.

Source: News Agencies