Chile's Pinera slams UN's Bachelet for failure to condemn Maduro

Santiago (AFP) –


Chile's President Sebastian Pinera sharply criticized his leftist predecessor and UN rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet Sunday for failing to condemn Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro for human rights violations.

"The high commissioner Michelle Bachelet still has not condemned the Maduro dictatorship for violating human rights in Venezuela. This is insufficient, I say it with respect but I say it truthfully," Pinera said in an interview published in the El Mercurio newspaper Sunday.

He said Bachelet's predecessor at the UN, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein of Jordan, "was much clearer, more categorical in condemning human rights abuses."

Pinera, a Chilean billionaire elected president for the second time in 2017, is a key supporter of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by more than 50 countries as interim president.

Pinera joined Guaido in the Colombian border city of Cucuta last weekend in an attempt to send international humanitarian aid into Venezuela, which was blocked on the border by Maduro's security forces.

"The Lima Group -- formed by more than a dozen countries to help resolve the crisis in Venezuela -- and various democracies around the world are calling (on Bachelet) to fulfill the role as high commissioner to defend human rights in a country where they are being brutally overrun, as is the case in Venezuela," said Pinera.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza recently invited Bachelet to visit the country to see for herself the impact of US sanctions that Maduro insists are responsible for his country's crisis.

Bachelet was Chile's president from 2006-2010 and from 2014-2018.