Dozens Of Diplomats Boycott Speech By Venezuela’s Foreign Minister

Venezuela's foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, gave an address at a U.N. meeting to open dialogue between the U.S. and President Maduro. In response, dozens of diplomats from various countries left the room.

Jorge Arreaza UN Meeting Feb. 12 2019
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Venezuela's foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, gave an address at a U.N. meeting to open dialogue between the U.S. and President Maduro. In response, dozens of diplomats from various countries left the room.

According to a report by Daily Mail, dozens of diplomats from both Latin American and European countries stormed out of a U.N. meeting during the address by the foreign minister of Venezuela.

Venezuela has been a hotbed of controversy shortly after Juan Guaido, leader of the party opposing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s administration, declared himself interim president.

According to the BBC, Venezuela is reaching a breaking point as President Maduro and interim President Guaido struggle for power in a country with a failed economy and a starving populace.

Recently Guaido promised and coordinated the delivery of foreign aid to the Venezuelan border in an effort to provide Venezuelan citizens with much-needed support.

Maduro declared the matter a threat to national security and deployed troops to the border to prevent relief from coming in or Venezuelans from crossing over. When protesters refused to cooperate, soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets on the crowd, before eventually resorting to gunfire and killing at least two civilians.

Many countries have declared the state in Venezuela a humanitarian crisis, and several have come out officially recognizing Guaido as the leader of the country and supporting his push for elections. The killing of two civilians at the border was declared a violation of the Geneva Convention and demands for Maduro to step down have been increasing.

To calm tempers and regain control, Maduro sent his foreign minister Jorge Arreaza to gain support and establish a dialogue between his administration and President Trump at the U.N. meeting.

Jorge Arreaza at UN Meeting 2018
  Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

Arreaza’s speech was seen by some as nothing more than an accusation of the United States’ supposed interference in Maduro’s rule. Reports state that at one point in his speech, he accused the U.S. of attempting to overthrow Maduro and establish a “blockade” on the country’s oil exports.

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The U.S. recognizes Guiado as the leader of Venezuela and supports the demand for free elections to appoint a new leader for the country. President Trump has made his views of Venezuela’s socialist government clear in many statements critical of Maduro and the state of the economy under his rule.

In addition to the U.S., more than 50 countries have recognized Guaido as the country’s interim president and refuse to acknowledge Maduro’s rule.

Before Arreaza’s speech, one of Colombian President Ivan Duque’s aides called upon the leaders of the world to support Guaido’s actions to end the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and enact political change.

It’s unclear at this time if Arreaza’s speech had the desired effect of opening dialogue with the U.S., but it is clear from the walkout that many countries have no interest in recognizing Maduro as the leader of Venezuela.