Venezuela enlists 50 countries at UN to show support

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


Russia and China joined Cuba, Iran, North Korea and dozens of other countries at the United Nations on Thursday to show support for Venezuela in its showdown with the United States.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told reporters the newly-formed support group of about 50 countries would take action in the coming days "to raise awareness around the dangers that our people currently face."

"We all have the right to live without the threat of use of force and without application of illegal coercive unilateral measures," Arreaza told journalists, flanked by the ambassadors of several countries.

Among those at Arreaza's side were envoys from Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, North Korea, Syria along with the Palestinian representative and diplomats from Caribbean countries.

Arreaza did not provide details of the planned action but called on all UN nations to "join us in defending international law as the only guarantor for humanity's peaceful coexistence".

The United Nations has been divided between countries that support Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president on January 23, and those who back President Nicolas Maduro.

The United States is leading a push to recognize Guaido, backed by about 50 countries.

Washington has sent aid to the Colombian border with Venezuela but Maduro's government has refused to let the shipments, accusing the United States of using the relief packages as a political tool aimed at regime change.

Declaring himself "sad" about the "turmoil" in Venezuela, President Donald Trump on Wednesday demanded that Maduro unblock US aid shipments and has refused to rule out military action.

Venezuela's economy is in a tailspin marked by hyperinflation and shortages of basic necessities that the opposition blames on corruption and mismanagement by the Maduro government.

Caracas maintains that US sanctions are to blame for the economic meltdown.