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How Venezuela defeated Washington’s coup attempt at the United Nations

An inside look at how Venezuelan diplomats stymied a US attempt to revoke their credentials at the UN and shatter their nation’s sovereignty.

by Anya Parampil

Part 1

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez passed through the doors of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on the afternoon of September 27 and flashed a smile to reporters waiting near the entrance.

Flanked by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and UN Ambassador Samuel Moncada, Rodríguez raised her arms into the air and waved a photo in her left hand before disappearing up the escalators which lead to the General Assembly hall.

That photo showed the US-backed coup leader Juan Guaidó posing with Colombian narco-paramilitary members from the Los Rastrojos gang, which is notorious for kidnapping, drug smuggling, and murder.

Guaidó had apparently relied on Los Rastrojos to enter Colombia ahead of his failed humanitarian aid stunt on February 23. For the coup leader and his backers in Washington, the images could not have surfaced at a more inconvenient time.

Rodríguez appeared confident as she prepared to address the 74th General Assembly. The Venezuelan team  entered the meeting anxious about plans by the United States to escalate its diplomatic war against the country.

Close observers had expected that the US would try to block Rodríguez from speaking as part of its effort to delegitimize her government.  

Yet Rodríguez ultimately appeared at the podium to deliver a jeremiad against US meddling in her country’s affairs and what she called “capitalist violence.

Her commanding presence at the UN delivered another blow to the Trump administration’s regime-change efforts, and signaled that the majority of the world’s countries still recognized the authority of Venezuela’s elected government.

For months, a clandestine war has been fought in the UN corridors and in capitals around the world, aimed at determining who had the right to define Venezuela’s internationally-recognized government: the Venezuelan people, or the Trump administration. 

Since January, the US has pressured countries to revoke Venezuela’s status at the United Nations, converting the international body into a battleground for the country’s sovereignty.

[Nicolas] Maduro is and will remain the legitimate president of Venezuela, by the people’s sacred right to self-determination,” Rodríguez announced before the General Assembly moments after her arrival.

As Rodríguez took the floor, a modestly sized group of representatives from US-allied countries walked out of the hall, in a display of opposition to her presence. The walk-out recalled scenes from diplomatic meetings from Vienna to Geneva in the months following Washington’s move to recognize Guaidó as Venezuela’s president in January.

It was a clear victory because what they were trying to do was not to just get out of the room, or walk away from the speech — what they [wanted] to do was to try and stop the Vice President from speaking — but they didn’t have the strength, they were defeated,” Venezuela’s vice minister for Africa, Yuri Pimentel, told The Grayzone.

The only thing they could do was walk away,” Pimentel explained. “That’s not a problem for us, the room was really full of delegations and we didn’t even notice when these people went away.

Nine months since the US and 54 countries officially recognized Guaidó, the General Assembly meeting would have been the perfect forum to prove the success of Trump’s regime-change policy and declare the opposition figure to be Venezuela’s UN-recognized president. 

Instead, Washington and its allies were reduced to staging a symbolic protest march as the international community celebrated the triumph of Venezuela’s sovereign, elected government over a US-backed coup attempt — all while Guaidó and his cronies slid further into scandal, absurdity, and irrelevance. 

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