RNA - “I was very encouraged by the demonstration last Saturday in which the demonstrations took place without violence,” the UN chief also said in an interview with the US government-sponsored broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) at the United Nations in New York, referring to rallies in Venezuela.
“Our strong appeal is to avoid all forms of violence that, of course, serve no purpose and benefit nobody,” Guterres added.
Guterres announced that he had offered the UN’s “good offices” to both sides in Venezuela. He also stressed that it is up to the Venezuelans to negotiate a solution.
“I think it’s important that the UN reaffirms the availability of its good offices to support any negotiations between the two parties for a solution to be found. The Venezuelan people need it and deserve it,” he stated.
Early this month, Guterres stressed that he would only cooperate with Nicolas Maduro’s recognized government.
Venezuela has been in political turmoil in the past couple of weeks, with the opposition, holding widespread anti-government rallies, blaming President Nicolas Maduro over an ailing economy, hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items, urging him to resign.
The opposition leader, Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself interim president in January. In a matter of days, he received full support from the United States, as well as many of the EU and Latin American countries. Following the announcement, Venezuela witnessed massive rallies, both for and against Maduro. However, other countries, including Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran, have expressed support for the elected government in Venezuela and condemned outside interference in the country.
The Venezuelan government slammed the move as “a coup attempt” and warned against any international meddling or potential military action.
President Donald Trump has time and again said that US military force is an “option” to use against Venezuela, but has not specified under what circumstances he would dispatch troops to remove Maduro from power.
Despite the opposition and even US officials urging Venezuelan officers and soldiers to defect, the army has so far mostly maintained its loyalty to the elected government, while President Maduro has repeatedly stressed that Venezuela will defend its sovereignty at any cost.
Maduro has stated that Caracas trains troops to protect the “sacred homeland” and to ensure that the US pays “entirely too much” for invasion. The Venezuelan president said his government is preparing for a potential military intervention from the outside, but insists dialogue is the way to solve the crisis.
Maduro also noted that the US made “a political and diplomatic mistake” in piling pressure on Venezuela.
Maduro has warned against attempts "to weaken Venezuela" and fuel a civil war in the Latin American country, cautioning that Trump will face far-reaching consequences if the US president pursues what his Venezuelan counterpart described as a "dirty" imperialist conspiracy to oust him.
Maduro has also responded to Trump's recent remarks that a US military intervention in Venezuela remains "an option", saying that "talking about the war in the 21st century is madness".