The United Nations has rewarded the repressive socialist regime of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro with a spot on the world body’s Human Rights Council.
Venezuela and Brazil filled two Latin American vacancies on the council in an Oct. 16 vote. Costa Rica reportedly joined the race in a last-ditch effort to deny the spot to the Maduro government but was defeated.
Russia, China and Cuba were among the supporters for Venezuela in its successful bid to join the Human Rights Council.
“This maneuvering won’t let” Maduro “hide his crimes,” said Julio Borges, foreign relations representative for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom many regard as the nation’s rightful president. “Elected democracies in this body will increasingly isolate the dictatorship and will expose its human rights violations.”
Days before the vote to fill the vacancies, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had, in an op-ed for the Miami Herald, urged the UN not to include Venezuela on the council.
“The Maduro regime in Venezuela is among the world’s worst human-rights abusers. It has crushed the independent media and legislature. It jails and tortures political opponents by the thousands,” Haley wrote.
“The criminal, socialist, narco-state has ruined its economy and refuses to allow humanitarian aid into the country. The Venezuelan people dig through trash cans and slaughter zoo animals to feed their families.”
The Daily Caller noted that “Maduro has maintained his grip on power in Venezuela despite multiple uprisings among his people and the fact that a number of nations — including the U.S. — have declined to recognize him as the rightful leader of his country.”
Critics argued that Maduro was attempting to influence or even undermine potential investigations into human rights abuses being reported from his own people.
Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, told The Washington Post: “With the seat, Venezuela will try to undermine scrutiny of its abuses and the abuses of its allies. The council’s fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry have done outstanding work. The votes on some issues can be close, so we don’t need countries like Venezuela who try to undermine the good work.”