|Representatives of Cuba (top right) and Venezuela (bottom right), accompanied by fellow diplomats from North Korea and Syria, came to UN Watch’s event to lash out at UN Watch and at the human rights activists from their countries who testified of gross abuses committed by the Havana and Caracas regimes.|
WATCH VIDEO OF PANELISTS:
“We came to Geneva to ask the U.N. to send a mission to Venezuela to evaluate the cases of human rights violations that students have been subjected to.”
— Eusebio Costa, 22-year-old student activist, President of the Student Center at the Catholic University Santa Rosa in Caracas, member of the protest camp in Las Mercedes. VIDEO.
— Julieta Lopez, aunt of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has been imprisoned since February. When Ms. Lopez addressed the Human Rights Council plenary in March, the Venezuelan delegate interrupted her speech and tried to stop her from testifying. VIDEO
“Venezuelan and Cuban activists lobbied the United Nations to investigate the deaths of dozens of student protesters in Caracas and the jailing of Cuban dissidents. The two Latin American powers, led by socialist Presidents Nicolas Maduro and Raul Castro, are members of the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council…” Click for more
Cuba and Venezuela Lash Out
After the panelists gave their testimony, representatives from the Cuban and Venezuelan government responded by screaming wild accusations of corruption at them and UN Watch.
The Venezuelan delegate said, “We have the greatest amount of oil; you [the United States] have the greatest empire and you are trying to take our resources.” In response to Ms. Lopez’s condemnation of the inhumane treatment of her jailed nephew, the Venezuelan insisted that he was “protected by all constitutional and legal rights.” VIDEO
The Cuban representative screamed accusations at the panelists and UN Watch: “This is clearly a program of the United States to undermine Cuba, and they have given these speakers money to participate,” said the furious representative, who ended his speech by loudly leading a walk-out of the North Korean, Syrian and other allied delegates who showed up at the UN Watch event. VIDEO
Subsequently, the Cuban delegation complained to the Human Rights Council that UN Watch was out of order for hosting the dissidents.
UN WATCH IMPACT
• Before the panel even took place, it raised the ire of the head of the Venezuelan parliament, who was one of several top Caracas officials to lash out at the prospect of Venezuelan dissidents at the United Nations Human Rights Council, where the government’s violent repression of protests would come under intense scrutiny.
• Venezuela and Cuba both tried to intimidate and discredit the speakers and UN Watch by sending representatives to the event and accusing all involved of being liars and accepting US government bribes.
• The event won the support of key officials including US Ambassador Keith Harper, who praised UN Watch and the panelists for speaking truth to power.
• In response to the UN rights chief’s criticism, the Venezuelan government called the statement “deplorable” and accused the Office of joining “the infamous international smear campaign” against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
• María Corina Machado (right), a leading Venezuelan opposition figure with 2 million Twitter followers, sent a video message expressing solidarity. Video here