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On Venezuela Military Attache Switches To Guaido As UN Guterres Skipped Meeting Censored Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT Q&A

UNITED NATIONS GATE, January 26 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in the UN Security Council at 9 am on January 26 for a meeting on Venezuela, as was USUN charge d'affaires Jonathan Cohen. Inner City Press went to cover the meeting, although banned from any entry of the UN for 206 days by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres amid questioning his conflicts of interest including on UN briber CEFC China Energy. At 8:50 am, Guterres' security remains in front of his / the public's $15 mansion on Sutton Place and 57th Street. While Guterres' Global Censor Alison Smale called the meeting "urgent," Guterres could not be bothered to be driven 15 blocks south to attend it. Vine video here.  Once Inner City Press got to the gate, the meeting had still not begun. First there was a procedural vote whether to hold it - it passed with nine votes. China, Russia, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea voted no; Cote d'Ivoire and Indonesia abstained. Inner City Press filmed UNTV from a bus stop on First Avenue, Periscope video here, where a passer-by it asked if the UN could solve Venezuela just laughed. After Pompeo's speech - with Cohen behind him - Inner City Press headed north to a protest on 47th Street. Transit here, protest here. Then up to Sutton Place, where only at 10:35 am did Guterres finally leave his / your mansion, to long idling Mercedes. Inner City Press filmed it. It usually does not ask questions on Sutton Place, but this one called for it - "Why did you not go to the Venezuela meeting?" No answer. Video here, Vine here. Whatever his position, he should have gone. Hours afteward, this: Venezuela's military attaché in Washington, Col. Jose Luis Silva Silva, said  he's breaking with Maduro and supporting Juan Guaido... The EU put out this: "Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, held in these hours a series of conversations regarding the latest developments in Venezuela and the work of the European Union and its partners for a peaceful and inclusive democratic solution to the benefit of all Venezuelans.   Federica Mogherini coordinated the EU position, reflected in the Declaration issued this afternoon on behalf of the 28 Member States, through contacts, among others, with the Spanish and the Italian Prime Ministers, Pedro Sanchez and Giuseppe Conte respectively, the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, and senior representatives of the governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.   The High Representative also talked to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres" - what, spoke to an official who although living in a $15 million publicly funded mansion 15 blocks away didn't even bother to go to the meeting? Guterres should be impeached...  Pompeo for New Years was in Brazil for the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro. While there, he met Peru's foreign minster and others about Venezuela. On January 23 Pompeo has announced, "The United States recognizes Juan Guaido as the new interim President of Venezuela." Soon afterward, Maduro gave US diplomatic personnel 72 hours to leave the country. The US has requested a UN Security Council meeting on Saturday, January 26 at 9 am - Inner City Press will cover it through sources, but remains banned from even entering the UN by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, as bad and a more hypocritical censors that the strongmen he purports to criticize. (In fact, Guterres this month told UN staff that asking human rights questions of governments is "impolite" and arrogant," Inner City Press video here). On January 25, Pompeo's deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino announced, "U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will travel to New York to participate in an open meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation in Venezuela on Saturday, January 26.  During the Security Council meeting, Secretary Pompeo will underscore the Administration’s support for the Venezuelan people.  Secretary Pompeo will urge members of the Security Council and the international community to uphold international peace and security by recognizing Juan Guaido as the constitutional interim President of Venezuela, and call for support for the transitional government in their quest to restore democracy and the rule of law." Guterres, gallivanting in Davos, finally issued a statement through his spokesman Stephane Dujarric: "Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Venezuela  The Secretary-General is concerned over reports of casualties in the context of demonstrations and unrest in Venezuela and calls for a transparent and independent investigation of these incidents.  At this critical time, he urges all actors to lower tensions and pursue every effort to prevent violence and avoid any escalation.  The Secretary-General underlines the urgent need for all relevant actors to commit to inclusive and credible political dialogue to address the protracted crisis in the country, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights" -- this while Guterres was having his guards brag and stop the camera of Inner City Press at a screening of Jeff Bezos' Amazon Studios' "Beautiful Boy" with Steve Carrel, here. Earlier this, from US State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino: "Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan met today with Guyanese Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge in Washington, D.C.  Both leaders commended the strength of the U.S.-Guyana partnership, and Deputy Secretary Sullivan affirmed Guyana’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction within its Exclusive Economic Zone.  They also discussed preparations for Guyana’s upcoming national elections as well as the importance of U.S.-Guyana cooperation for Guyana’s safety and security in light of instability in neighboring Venezuela. " A bit earlier this, from Pompeo: "The United States stands with interim President Juan Guaido, the democratically elected National Assembly, and the people of Venezuela as they peacefully restore constitutional order to their country.  We stand ready to support interim President Guaido as he establishes a transitional government and carries out his constitutional duties as interim President, including determining the status of diplomatic representatives in the United States and other countries.  We welcome interim President Guaido’s directive to all diplomatic missions in Venezuela that Venezuela intends to maintain diplomatic relations with all countries.  The United States maintains diplomatic relations with Venezuela and will conduct our relations with Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaido, who has invited our mission to remain in Venezuela. The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime as the government of Venezuela.  Accordingly the United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata.  We call on the Venezuelan military and security forces to continue protecting the welfare and well-being of all Venezuelan citizens, as well as U.S. and other foreign citizens in Venezuela.  We call on all parties to refrain from measures that are inconsistent with the privileges and immunities enjoyed by members of the diplomatic community. The United States will take appropriate actions to hold accountable anyone who endangers the safety and security of our mission and its personnel." From Brazil at the beginning of January Pompeo's Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino issued this read out: "Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met today with Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio Bardales [and]  applauded Peru’s efforts in accommodating more than 600,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants who have fled the worsening economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.  Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Popolizio discussed the need to increase pressure on the Maduro regime to return democracy and prosperity to the Venezuelan people." Now on January 15, this from US Vice President Mike Pence: "Vice President Pence spoke by phone today with Juan Guaido, the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, to recognize his courageous leadership following his arrest and intimidation this weekend, and to express the United States’ resolute support for the National Assembly of Venezuela as the only legitimate democratic body in the country. The Vice President firmly emphasized that the long-standing goal of the United States and all freedom-loving nations is to restore democracy to Venezuela through free and fair elections, and end the unprecedented humanitarian and economic crises in the once-rich cradle of Bolivar. Vice President Pence encouraged Mr. Guaido to build unity among political groups, and pledged continued support from the United States until democracy is restored. " On January 12, US State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino has issued this"We stand with the Venezuelan people, and we praise the fierce commitment to democratic principles of the elected members of the Venezuelan National Assembly.  We commend the courage of the National Assembly’s leadership, particularly its president, Juan Guaido, and his decision to invoke the authorities of the Venezuelan Constitution.  We call on all Venezuelans to uphold and respect the role of the National Assembly, as established in the Venezuelan Constitution of 1999, and, in particular, for the security forces and the armed forces to respect all protections the constitution affords to Guaido and the other members of the National Assembly, especially their safety and welfare.  The people of Venezuela deserve to live in freedom in a democratic society governed by the rule of law.  It is time to begin the orderly transition to a new government. We support the National Assembly’s call for all Venezuelans to work together, peacefully, to restore constitutional government and build a better future.  The United States government will continue to use the full weight of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela."  On January 10 Pompeo issued a statement beginning: "The United States condemns Maduro’s illegitimate usurpation of power today following the unfree and unfair elections he imposed on the Venezuelan people on May 20, 2018. The United States remains steadfast in its support of the Venezuelan people and will continue to use the full weight of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy.  Today, we reiterate our support for Venezuela’s National Assembly, the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people. It is time for Venezuela to begin a transitional process that can restore the constitutional, democratic order by holding free and fair elections that respect the will of the Venezuelan people.  To advance this goal, the United States has taken aggressive action against the Maduro regime and its enablers. Most recently, on January 8, the United States imposed sanctions on seven individuals and 23 entities involved in a corruption scheme to exploit Venezuela’s currency exchange practices. By rigging the system in their favor, these individuals and entities stole more than $2.4 billion..."  On January 4, foreign ministers from 12 Latin American countries and Canada announced in Lima that their governments would not recognize Maduro as president if he attempts to remain in office and urged him to turn over power to the National Assembly. The Maduro government accused this Lima Group of "encouraging a coup d'etat" on instructions from the Trump administration. Mexico, which is a member of the group, withheld its support for the statement. Where is this going? On corruption, UNSG Antonio Guterres has for weeks refused Inner City Press' questions about why it is not a conflict of interest to refuse to audit CEFC when in 2018 it tried to buy Partex Oil & Gas from the Gulbenkian Foundation of which Guterres has been a paid board member... Following the second round of elections in Brazil, on October 29 UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres congratulated the Brazilian people or so his Spokesman said at noon and US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in the afternoon provided this read out: "Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke by phone today with Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro. The Secretary congratulated Mr. Bolsonaro on his win and reinforced the vibrant partnership between the United States and Brazil based on our mutual commitment to promote security, democracy, economic prosperity, and human rights. They discussed collaboration on priority foreign policy issues including Venezuela, countering transnational crime, and ways to strengthen economic ties between the United States and Brazil, the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere." Will have more on this - and on Brazil and the UN now. When the UN's First Committee met for the first time in this 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, it was a fight and recorded vote on Day 1. Brazil proposed a briefing by the Secretary-General of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean; Syria said there should be more time to consider it. Finally Brazil called for action, and it was the United States and Israel which voted No, along with 27 abstentions, and 86 for. Elected Noël Diarra (Mali) and José Ataíde Amaral (Portugal) as Vice-Chairs joining Vice-Chair Marissa Edwards (Guyana) and Muna Zawani Idris (Brunei), the Rapporteur. Inner City Press, banned from the UN and its General Assembly and member states for the 93d day by Secreary General Antonio Guterres, could only live tweet, not ask questions. Committee chair Ion Jirga repeated told member states, the ball is is your court. It is not a good beginning. Nor this: When the Security Council President for October, Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz of Bolivia, held a Press-less press conference on October 3, he was asked by a Yemeni journalist "with the Atlantic Council" about being blocked by the Bolivian Mission. He said, We will unblock you right away - in contrast to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who blocks banned Inner City Press with no reversal and these days, no answers. With Inner City Press not able to be present, the Western Sahara question Llorenti received was why it wasn't move covered up, why there was so many meetings about MINURSO. (It is only one month a year, the renewal, with consultations and adoption and one TCC meeting.) There was nothing on Cameroon. Llorenti talked up his upcoming field trip to DR Congo, like the Security Council visit he led to Haiti, which Inner City Press went on and reported from. But now that Guterres for his own reasons has had Inner City Press roughed up and banned since July 3, Llorenti's Mission has yet to respond to this, regarding (now) October 11: "find myself banned from even entering the UN, since 3 July 2018 when I was physically ousted while staking out the Fifth Committee meeting from the Vienna Cafe area, at the invitation of member states on the Committee. I would like to request that you / your Mission ensure that I can enter the UN to cover and hopefully ask a question at your Program of Work press conference tomorrow, and after that to cover / stakeout such meetings at the October 11 consultations on Western Sahara / MINURSO, which is almost impossible to cover without being in the building. As you may know, there are numerous Morocco state media given office space and resident correspondent status by DPI under USG Alison Smale, who has refused to answer a single one of my 10 e-mails. They will cover the Western Sahara meeting, from their perspective. I believe I have a similar right to continue this issue.
Responsible are Chef de Cabinet Viotti (who was called by the Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press) and/or DSG Amina Mohammed. Or, pending that, please have the Mission bring me in to these meetings. The only written communication I have received from the UN is this letter from USG Smale, here." We'll have more on this.


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