US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on countries to "pick a side" on Venezuela, urging them to back opposition leader Juan Guaido in a Saturday speech at the UN Security Council in New York.
"Now, it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem," Pompeo told the Security Council.
Russia accused Washington of plotting a coup attempt and had tried to stop the meeting requested by the United States. "Venezuela does not represent a threat to peace and security. If anything does represent a threat to peace, it is the shameless and aggressive action of the United States and their allies aimed at the ouster of the legitimately elected president of Venezuela," Russia's UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the UN Council.
On Friday, neoconservative Elliott Abrams was appointed US special envoy for Venezuela.
“Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country,” Mr Pompeo said, according to Reuters.
“It’s very nice to be back. This crisis in Venezuela is deep and difficult and dangerous,” Abrams said Friday. “And I can’t wait to get to work on it.”
Chirped John Bolton (twitter):
Pleased to hear that my good friend Elliott Abrams is rejoining State as Special Envoy for Venezuela. Welcome back to the fight.
Abrams is known as the "Assistant Secretary of Dirty Wars," a title he earned during his stints with the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations:
In 1993, after a UN truth commission which examined 22,000 atrocities that occurred during the twelve-year civil war in El Salvador, attributed 85 per cent of the abuses to the Reagan-assisted right-wing military and its death-squad allies, assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Abrams said: “The administration’s record on El Salvador is one of fabulous achievement.”
Abrams organized the illegal, covert financing of Contra rebels in Nicaragua behind the back of Congress, which had cut off funding.
Abrams lied to Congress twice about his role with the Contras. He pleaded guilty to both counts in 1991 but was pardoned by George HW Bush.
Abrams, a decade later, while working as special Middle East adviser to former president George W Bush,
Abrams was an enthusiastic advocate of the disastrous Iraq invasion.
Abrams was in the Bush White House at the time of the abortive coup in 2002 against the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Abrams helped lead the US effort to stage a coup to overturn the results of the 2006 Palestinian elections, complete with murder and torture.
Also on Friday, a Wall Street Journal report confirmed suspicions that opposition leader Juan Guaido's move to declare himself "interim president" of Venezuela this week was highly coordinated with the Trump White House and Republican lawmakers.
Guaido's move and U.S. President Donald Trump's rapid endorsement were quickly decried as a dangerous intervention—or the beginnings of a coup d'etat—which progressives argued would dramatically worsen the country's economic and political crisis. As Common Dreams reported, over 70 academics and experts signed an open letter demanding that the U.S. "cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change."