Humanitarian Aid to Venezuela - Press Conference (22 February 2019)

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Published on 23 Feb 2019, 4:38
At a press conference in New York today (22 Feb), Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said his Government could “only hope sanity will prevail in Colombia”, that the deadline for the entry of humanitarian aid would remain “a big show, and that they don’t try to open the doors to a military intervention” in Venezuela.

Arreaza told journalists that the United States wanted “something to happen within the armed forces” as a result of the “operation tomorrow.” He added, “As said by an old Venezuelan, these are just the latest developments of a prehistoric animal in the process of extinction, and in Venezuela this coup is also in the process of extinction; but in the world, imperialism is also in the process of extinction.”

The Foreign Minister said that the US was trying to force humanitarian aid into Venezuela without complying with the basic principles required to do so. He said his country was practically unable to import food, medicine, and basic items for its people due to the US blockade and seizure of Venezuelan assets.

Jorge Arreaza, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Venezuela:
“Therefore, the support of the United Nations and its agencies to ensure that we can procure items in due course and pay for them with money that Venezuelan men and women have earned, with our own money. In addition to that there are special programmes in place by agencies such as UNICEF and FAO for food where they also wanted to donate; this will all be welcomed.”

Arreaza said Venezuela was seeking collaboration with the UN to help it meet its needs and to transform its economy from the importing model that it has.

The Foreign Minister called on journalists and media outlets not to “side with violence” by creating “justifying conditions for violence” in his country, otherwise they would, “just like the hands of President Trump, be stained with blood.”

He stressed that the Venezuelan armed forces protect the country’s national sovereignty and would “never take action in a disproportionate manner against [its] people and citizens.” He underscored however, that there were “false flags” that could be used to create violence. He added, “We can only hope sanity will prevail in Colombia, that sanity and good sense would prevail in Cucuta, and that this party will remain a party, a big show, and that they don’t try to open the doors to a military intervention.”

Arreaza noted that his Government was open to dialogue with the Venezuelan opposition to resolve their differences under the authority of the constitution, adding that his country also sought peace with the United States.

Earlier today, Arreaza met with UN chief António Guterres to discuss the situation in his country and the region. In a readout of the meeting issued by his spokesperson’s office, the Secretary-General urged the Venezuelan authorities not to use lethal force against demonstrators. Guterres said the UN would continue to act in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, working with Venezuelan institutions, to assist people in need.
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