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On Venezuela As US Imposes More Sanctions Inner City Press Asked Why Guterres Skipped UNSC Meeting

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video CJR PFT Q&A

UNITED NATIONS GATE, February 15 – When the foreign minister of Venezuela, or at least of Nicolas Maduro, Jorge Arreaza emerged from the 3 Sutton Place mansion where UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres lives alone and met with him, Inner City Press asked Arreaza two questions. Video here. First, did Guterres explain to him why he skipped the UN Security Council's urgent meeting on Venezuela on January 26? Arreaza said that the Security Council has not even come up his in nearly one hour meet with Guterres, who he called very positive. Inner City Press also asked if Arreaza while in the U.S. would be visiting the Federal Reserve, where Venezuela's accounts have been turned over to Juan Guaido. No, he said, there are other ways of dealing with that than the minster of foreign affairs. Now on February 12 US Senator Marco Rubio has directly criticized Guterres: "@antonioguterres playing right into #Maduro plans.  Fake @UN “negotiations” to divide opposition & buy time for protests to die down. Maduro will also want UN “experts” to blame #Venezuela crisis on sanctions.   When it comes to democracy & human rights UN increasingly worthless." On Cameroon that is definitely true -- Guterres has been in full cover up of slaughter mode, and has roughed up and banned the Press which asks. On Venezuela, Guterres' game has been to try to avoid the issue, staying in his/your mansion during the UNSC meeting, etc. Now he's been called out - this is just the beginning. On February 15, the US State Department's deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino announced, "The United States remains steadfast in its support of Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido, the transitional government, and the Venezuelan people.  We will continue to use the full weight of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy.  Today, the United States took action to continue to hold corrupt officials of the former illegitimate Maduro regime accountable by imposing sanctions on five current or former officials of the illegitimate Maduro regime.  The corrupt officials include individuals of the Cuban-sponsored Venezuelan intelligence forces (SEBIN), the military counter-intelligence (DGCIM) unit, and the brutal special actions force (FAES).  Additionally, the United States is taking action against the current President of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA)." At the February 12 press conference in the UN Guterres bans Inner City Press from, Arreaza said Guaido's first call is to Rubio. None of those let in by Guterres even asked about it...  On February 11, Guterres' spokes - / hatchet man Stephane Dujarric in response to "questions" from the correspondents he allows in and answers issued this: "In answer to questions asked about the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Jorge Arreaza, Minister of the People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Spokesman said the following:     The Secretary-General reaffirmed that his offer of good offices to both parties remains available for serious negotiation to help the country out of the present standoff for the benefit of the people of Venezuela.     Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General  11 February 2019." We'll have more on this. When Inner City Press showed up at Guterres or rather the public's $15 million mansion on the corner of 57th Street there was a large black van in front. But later Arreaza came with flashing sirens. The UN Media Acccreditation and Liaison Unit did not even include this meeting in its Media Alert, but allowed in Telesur and a Japanese TV crew which asked Arreaza, Do you have any message for Japan? To this has Guterres sunk. Video here. 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 now for 222 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. Now on February 11 Guterres is set to meet with Maduro's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza - in the same publicly funded UN mansion on Sutton Place and 57th Street Guterres stayed in on January 26, skipping the urgent UN Security Council meeting. Inner City Press which exclusively live-streamed Guterres skipping the meeting and refusing to answer why has since then repeated asked in writing, of Guterres, Amina J. Mohammed, Alison Smale, Farhan Haq and Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, why did Guterres skip the meeting? They never answered, despite telling UNSR David Kaye, Inner City Press on the public that they would answer such questions. Instead, in an ill-attended February 11 noon briefing Inner City Press was banned from his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said he skipped it because he was going to Park East Synagogue that morning. But the meeting was at 9 am, and PES at 10:40 am. And diplomats like US Jonathan Cohen went to the Security Council then PES. We'll have more on this - including live-streaming as is our right from outside Guterres mis-used mansion. Back on January 26 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, January 28 question tweeted at UN Spokesperson here. But on January 29 Antonio "Charlemagne" Guterres rebuffed Guaido in a letter his spokesman Stephane "Expensive French Restaurant" Dujarric wouldn't even confirm, while banning Inner City Press for the 210th day: "The United Nations are ready to increase their activities in Venezuela in the areas of humanitarian assistance and development,” Guterres told Guaido in a letter dated Jan. 29 and seen by Reuters on Wednesday. “For that, the United Nations need, however, the consent and cooperation of the Government.”  Some reporting this didn't even mention that Guterres stayed in his mansion... Whatever Guterres' position, he should have gone. Full video here. The video was seemingly automatically de-monetized by YouTube. But to their credit, when Inner City Press appealed, YouTube on January 29 wrote back: "Hi InnerCity Press, Great news! After manually reviewing your video, we’ve determined that it is suitable for all advertisers:  "For Venezuela UNSC Meeting Guterres Does Not Attend As Banned Press Covers Protest and Vote" Thanks,  The YouTube team." The lawless UN of Guterres and his Global Communicator Alison Smale, and spokes- / hatchman Stephane Dujarric, has no appeals process; these three and others did not answer Inner City Press' January 28 question on this, on Cameroon's arrest of an opposition figure and the UN itself killing two civilians in South Sudan. Guterres is killing the UN - softly. Now on January 29, this from UN State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino: "On January 25, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo certified the authority of Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaido to receive and control certain property in accounts of the Government of Venezuela or Central Bank of Venezuela held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or any other U.S. insured banks, in accordance with Section 25B of the Federal Reserve Act.  This certification will help Venezuela’s legitimate government safeguard those assets for the benefit of the Venezuelan people.  We call on other governments to recognize interim President Juan Guaido and take similar steps to protect Venezuela’s patrimony from further theft by Maduro’s corrupt regime." At 3 pm on January 28 this became public: "Today the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13850 for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. PdVSA is a Venezuelan stateowned oil company and a primary source of Venezuela’s income and foreign currency, to include U.S. dollars and Euros. “The United States is holding accountable those responsible for Venezuela’s tragic decline, and will continue to use the full suite of its diplomatic and economic tools to support Interim President Juan Guaidó, the National Assembly, and the Venezuelan people’s efforts to restore their democracy,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin." Afterward, US House Foreign Affairs Committee lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) released the following statement in response to the Administration’s announcement to roll out new U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA.   “After years of mismanagement and plummeting production, the illegitimate Maduro regime can no longer be allowed to siphon off the proceeds of Petroleos de Venezuela at the expense of its citizens. Maduro’s socialist policies and systemic corruption have created a humanitarian crisis in which millions of people are suffering greatly. The United States and our allies must continue to use all tools necessary, including economic and diplomatic, until democracy is restored in Venezuela.  “I continue to stand with interim President Guaidó and the brave people of Venezuela. The Venezuelan military should stand with the people and help facilitate a peaceful transition of power. It’s time for the socialist nightmare of Nicolas Maduro to come to an end.” At the January 28 UN noon briefing Inner City Press was banned from, no one let in asked about Guterres' absence; spokesman Stephane Dujarric said they had only seen Guaido's letter "on Twitter" - a platform on which he blocks Inner City Press. Now this canned read-out: "On 28 January, the Secretary-General met with a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) delegation headed by the Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister Timothy Harris of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and comprised of the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley; the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Labour of Grenada, Peter David: the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, Irwin LaRocque; as well as the Permanent Representatives of CARICOM Member States.       The Secretary-General and the CARICOM leaders discussed the situation in Venezuela and its implications for the region.  The Secretary-General took note of CARICOM’s concerns and reiterated his offer of good offices to facilitate dialogue and negotiation between the parties.      New York, 28 January 2019." Here now is from Pompeo's (January 25) interview by Gustau Alegret of NTN24, Q:  Guaido said this morning that Maduro could have amnesty.  Do you think that he deserves this amnesty?  SECRETARY POMPEO:  We’ll have to see how things proceed with respect to it, and ultimately, this will be a decision for the Venezuelan people, right?  These – this is their country; this is their effort.  It was the Venezuelans who are in the streets.  It’s their process.  The United States is aiming to make sure that they get a chance to do so in safety and security, and we’ve now identified resources – $20 million – to provide humanitarian assistance, demonstrating once again that the United States is a real force for good for the Venezuelan people.  We intend to remain so.  QUESTION:  How are you going to canalize or channelize this 20 million in humanitarian help?  The government is under the control of Nicolas Maduro.  Juan Guaido is just the leader of the National Assembly, so far.  SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, he’s the interim president.  The United States recognizes him as such, and we will find a methodology by which to get this – these resources to the people who need them the most.  QUESTION:  Tomorrow there is a UN Security Council.  What do you expect from Russia and China in this council?  SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, we hope they’ll come to see that the right path forward is to reflect the will of the Venezuelan people and to recognize President Guaido as the interim – as the interim leader of that country.  It’s certainly not what they’ve chosen to do so far, but we expect every country to see that what’s best for the Venezuelan people, what the Venezuelan people have demanded, is the outcome that the United States has now acknowledged." On January 28 from Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne, this: "Australia recognises and supports the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, in assuming the position of interim president, in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution and until elections are held. Australia calls for a transition to democracy in Venezuela as soon as possible. Australia supported the Lima Group’s early call for Nicolas Maduro to refrain from assuming the presidency on 10 January, relayed through our non-resident Ambassador to Venezuela. We now urge all parties to work constructively towards a peaceful resolution of the situation, including a return to democracy, respect for the rule of law and upholding of human rights of the Venezuelan people." Earlier this: Venezuela's military attaché in Washington, Col. Jose Luis Silva Silva, said  he's breaking with Maduro and supporting Juan Guaido. And on January 27, Pompeo said this: "The United States accepted interim President Juan Guaido’s designation of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as the Chargé d’Affaires of the Government of Venezuela to the United States on January 25.  Mr. Vecchio will have authority over diplomatic affairs in the United States on behalf of Venezuela.     After his accreditation, Mr. Vecchio met with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, who reaffirmed the United States’ strong support for interim President Guaido’s leadership of Venezuela.  The United States looks forward to working with Mr. Vecchio and other diplomatic staff as designated by interim President Guaido." The EU put out this on January 26: "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? 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...


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