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US blocks Russian-proposed Security Council statement on incursion into Venezuela

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency shows the passports of the US citizens arrested by security forces, during a meeting at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 4, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

The United States has blocked a Russian-proposed statement at the United Nations Security Council that would have demanded the condemnation of a recent incursion into Venezuela as part of a plot to overthrow the government in Caracas.

Deputy Russian Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy said the document, which denounced the dispatch of mercenaries to topple Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, was “killed” by the US during a Security Council meeting on Wednesday.

Polyanskiy said the draft statement called on Security Council members “to unequivocally condemn the attempt of invasion in Venezuelan sovereign territory,” and required the Council to reject “the use or threat of use of force” under resolutions linked to the “condemnation of terrorism” and use of mercenaries.

On May 3, a group of US-backed mercenaries attempted to intrude into the northern Venezuelan state of La Guaira on speedboats, but the country’s military foiled the attack, killing eight of the armed men and arresting several others.

In a state television address the next day, Maduro said authorities had detained 13 terrorists involved in the attack, including two Americans. The two US citizens were identified as Airan Berry and Luke Denman.

Showing the US passports and other identification cards belonging to Berry and Denman, Maduro said that they had been working with Jordan Goudreau, an American military veteran who leads the Florida-based security firm Silvercorp USA.

Denman said in a public interrogation on Venezuelan state TV that the purpose of the military operation had been to seize an airport in Caracas, kidnap Maduro, and take him to the US.

Maduro claimed that the plot had been “personally ordered” by US President Donald Trump and aimed to oust him. The White House, however, denied any involvement.

Venezuela’s Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez recently unveiled a 41-page contract between Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaido and Silvercorp USA to “capture/detain/remove” Maduro. The paper bore Guaido’s signature and those of other opposition figures.

Guaido pushed Venezuela into political turmoil after he unilaterally declared himself “interim president” of the country in January last year. He later launched an abortive coup against the elected government.

Guaido’s self-proclamation and his coup received backing from Washington.

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