tv Forum Focuses on Political Unrest in Venezuela CSPAN July 21, 2017 9:08am-10:45am EDT
>> good morning, my name is fred, i'm president and ceo to have atlantic council. the director jason who is the director of latin america initiative has a piece published in the national review this morning that captures the gravity of what we will be talking about today and the headline sums it up in the following way. as venezuela's democracy heads
over a cliff, where is the international response? and i only just read one paragraph here because i think it sums up the situation we confront. it's been more than a hundred days of ongoing opposition protests with more than 100 killed and thousands injured in violently repression by the maduro administration. with 176% inflation, many basic food supplies unavailable and what food can be found is distributed corruptly. last year infant mortality shot up 30% reaching the levels of the poorest of the poorest sub-saharan african nations, despite possessing the largest proven oil reserves in the world and i can't tell you how many people who are not familiar with venezuela can understand that, the largest proven oil reserves in the world nine in ten households are hungry or in risk
of hungry and the piece goes on saying ultimately normally this would be a time when the international community would step in using all available leverage to promote stabilization and peace but that hasn't happened. so that's the setting for this enormously timely and significant event where we will dive into the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in venezuela as well as try to identify new ways to involve the international community and particularly the u.s. and regional actors in seeking solutions to the crisis. here at the atlantic council it's our -- we earn our day's bread by convening leaders to find collaborative solutions to significant challenges. the challenges don't get much more significant than what we
are facing in venezuela in our own hemisphere. it gives me enormous pleasure and great honor the welcome the secretary general of the organization of the american states luisa mago. thank you so much for joining us today. you've been leading the diplomatic fight to encourage venezuela to respect human rights and human dignity and walk forward on a democratic path. i'm also honored to welcome luís alfonso de alba, permanent representative of méxico to the organization of american states and i know you put forward a very important resolution as well for this situation. let me also then briefly acknowledge panelist who is will be more if you havely introduced later, the chief economist
francisco rodríguez, the executive director of borges, traveled long distances to be here today, gustavo alegre and fernando espinoza of n24, just wonderful to have you here today to -- to discuss these issues. venezuela was a decade ago one of the wealthiest countries in the region, but today after years of economic and social mismanagement it's on a crisis on all fronts and it is as crisis as i said before that demands global attention. we find ourselves today a week away from a vote to elect a constituent assembly that will likely rewrite the constitution to the government's benefit.
that follows the situation where more than 7 million venezuelans virve -- symbolically voted last sunday in the biggest civic disobedience movement the world has ever seen. the international community has hit unending series of road blocks despite the secretary general's best efforts. the trump administration for its part has levied additional sanctions on individuals and is considering a broader set of sanctions. at the lant -- atlantic council we believe that now is the time to double-down on the effort that bears the violations and puts forward pressure and need for change. we are launching our own venezuela strategy that will have three prongs, one of them is laying bear the atrocities
committed by the venezuelan government and putting forward a new plan emerging from the crisis. the second is providing a road map for additional u.s. and regional efforts and the third is drawing attention to the actions of international actors of venezuela and the implications for u.s.-national security and regional stability and good broad and ongoing and longer-term efforts from latin america center. as such, today's event marks beginning effort on our part. we are lucky that the secretary general could join us at this pivotal moment, less than a week of the opposition, i think we will also hear about the strike yesterday in some of the outcome of that as well. and now it's my pleasure to introduce the secretary general who was elect today lead the oas in march 2015, since he took
office, he has led an incredible fight for peace and prosperity in veps -- venezuela. before coming to oas, he served as uruguay minister that gained uruguay recognition and served in uruguay chamber of senators and held ambassadorial positions, to germany and china. >> not embassador of china but posted to china. you were embassador. so after he gives brief remarks he will sit down in keynote conversation with jay -- jason and secretary general, i will end up by saying you're a consensus builder and highly-will wanted leader.
you will need all the skills right now. it's my true honor to welcome you today. the secretary general will speak in spanish, you have headphones and simultaneous translation, thank you all for coming and we look forward to your remarks, sir. [applause] [speaking in spanish] >> to be here with you. it is a pleasure. it's a political forum probably the most complete in the hemisphere where we have dialogue about rights and the well-being of citizens. this based on regional solidarity.
the commitment of the hemisphere defending democracy is a way to strengthen relationships between countries and the interamerican democratic charter was a preventive measure when the member states agreed about the mechanism that would protect democracies, they established a very explicit authority that would act in each of these signature -- signatory countries if necessary. this could prevent or stop any democracies and one one of the tragedies of venezuela is if there had been a willingness to apply the charter and to comply with it, we could have perhaps
avoided what has happened in the country. in venezuela when you act in defense of democracy, if we had acted in defense of democracy, this would have avoided the situation from reaching the point it has now where it is a security and humanitarian crisis. with the government that has undermined democracy to the point of becoming a real dictatorship. yes, it is true that venezuela should solve its own problems, however, when the words of civilians and -- have the government act with weapons against them, then we have to reestablish the order internationally we should do this to establish fundamental rights in the country. when the people of venezuela went out to protest for their rights, the government
instituted terroristic actions and they have systemically violated disarmed people. they have killed more than 100 people in a 100 days, almost a person per day. the number of wounded is -- goes beyond 15,000, until july 12th, 244 political prisoners, the highest in history and the statistics include lose of life as humanitarian crisis worsens because many of them are dying for lack of food and medicines for chronic diseases. almost two million people have left the country in the past three years because of lack of of no rule of law than the
crisis has worsened. venezuela has to make a great effort to improve the situation of its citizenry and this is unsufferable for the country. the police, the judges, everybody has been coopted and the country cannot be managed this way. when the violence comes from the government and institutions, then the problem is even greater. when drug trafficking is within the state and its institutions, then that challenge is completely new to our continent. so to dismantle -- it's not dismantling a dictatorship but the drug traffickers from the state of venezuela. the venezuelan government has systemically rejected humanitarian aid offers, however, but it has bought arms
with the bit of resources they still have. every death in venezuela should hurt the whole international community. it is especially hurtful and painful for this hemisphere, it's our responsibility to defend the people of venezuela and denounce all human right violations and the violent situation it is going through. last sunday, the people went out on the streets to defend democracy. 7million -- 7 and a half million people called to the armed forces of venezuela to defend the constitution, they asked government employees to respect the constitution, they asked for free and transparent elections as a democratic solution to this crisis. this is something that should be
done by the people. these people went despite of their fear and they were being threatened by the government. the people are claiming all their rights and they should be listened to. and there is more worth in value in those people than all the oil they have, but the government has decided to use torture and leave blood on the streets. those people cannot be underestimated. the first clue to recover democracy and rule of law is that venezuelan citizenry, no government should forget its people. to govern and opposition, this is the main problem of the government, they do not connect
with the needs of the people and to treat the people as amorphous mass that is malleable and mold to your own desire, that's the worst thing a politician should do and that goes for the opposition as well as the government. we have not learned from the previous dictatorships that characterize opposition to democracy in the second part of the 20th century. we didn't learn from that. we would have never allowed this to happen. the oas is the only political forum that has spoken about this crisis. it is the only one that is discussing the problem of venezuela permanently. we have luís alfonso de alba who
inspired the resolution who was passed on april 3rd which declares that there has been constitutional alteration in venezuela and it calls for venezuela to restore democracy according to the principles of the oas charter and interamerica, so regime had all this impunity to torture, to kill but they don't have that anymore according to what they have said and our voices have to be made louder because we are still going through a process where it is necessary to consolidate, the program that it needs, what we pointed out on may 30th to the permanent council, we presented this and we were trying to revoke, have
this recall referendum that was calling for new free transparent elections. all political prisoners should be freed. the powers of the state should be reinstated. we need an emergency plan to take care of those who are in the greatest need, those who are suffering from lack of food and medicine. and we should also be harsh and contain this to be coherent. there is still work to be done and what we have done has already brought venezuela closer to a solution but the people of venezuela have inspired us to find a solution at the cost of
their own lives and those lives should be respected and so should the people of venezuela, thank you. [applause] [speaking in spanish] >> thank you very much, secretary general. good morning, everyone, i'm jason, i lead the atlantic council latin america center, we are honored to have you here today for the launch of our new venezuela work and please let me, again, applauding secretary general for all of his work every day on behalf of the venezuelan people. [applause] >> those who know the latin america center and atlantic council know that we like to focus on positive transformations happening in latin america and many
transformations but venezuela certainly not one of them. whether he do everything here to lay the ground work for a better venezuela, for venezuela that people can live and peace and security and a venezuela that's a partner rather than a blight in the transformation. let's discuss some of the pressing issues facing venezuela and the international community and then we will open up to questions. i see this is a full room with many cameras in the back, so i want to make sure that we have time for a few questions from everybody here. mr. secretary general, the major governments of the hemisphere, méxico, brazil, argentina, chile, canada, colombia, perú the u.s. and others all support of oas effort to pass a resolution on venezuela last month in cancún. yet political road blocks, you mentioned a testimony on wednesday before the senate forum relations committee that countries that represent just
10% of the population of the americas prevented that resolution from moving forward. what in your mind explains that continuing political support for the venezuelan government on behalf of that group of countries? [speaking in spanish] >> that was also asked of me by the senate and my response is the same. >> the countries have national interests and due to this sometimes they inspire their actions and they affect the work they do in the international stage. so these international actions that are based on these national interests is a constant practice, this country does it
as well, almost all of the time. so we cannot judge anyone for acting this way. there is logic for the government, they established strong ties with countries in latin america and the caribbean. they have created economic interests, political interests and so that logic is not easy to undo because when you see them on paper, they seem abstract but in the case of venezuela, we see the practical importance that
those principles and values have and what fundamentals values really mean to life of people and social behavior and political behavior as we have seen in venezuela, the separation of powers affects the institutions of a certain country and they can be eroded if not taken care of and the republican -- [inaudible] >> have also affected the variables. so all of that together does play a role when things come to a certain point, so the countries have made their decisions in a sovereign way and i cannot judge any decision of any country, but this has been an evolution. ..
consider a broader set of actions in the u.s. congress and the senate as an 18 as a bipartisan bill under consideration to provide humanitarian assistance for the venezuelan people. then the u.s. government is very much focused on the situation of venezuela. from your perspective what would be some of the most effective
ways taking off her hat as secretary jewell of the oas but working outside in addition to the oas that the u.s. could be most effective, things this initiation should be considering? one piece of action under consideration is a potential of oil sanctions for example. in your opinion what be some most effective things that this administration could do to really a map of the venezuelan people? [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: i'm not capable of taking off my secretary-general hat. they might kick me out entirely. [laughing] no, it's true. so actions taken by the u.s. administration have been very positive in terms of applying pressure to the regime. that is true.
sanctions applied against the vice president and against the constitutional assembly happen very positive. and we think that future sanctions would be very positive, sanctions are the highest or the strongest international tool for applying pressure. and we want, we don't believe they should ever be any kind of military intervention. that is absolutely an unacceptable option. so the highest form of pressure is, in fact, to apply sanctions. sanctions, apply pressure but they in no way resolve issues of
internal pressure and a country, however. international pressure can certainly help. we've seen examples. we saw in the instance of apartheid. external pressures accelerate the fall of that regime but there was also very strong pressure from the inside, people that were committed to the idea of one vote for every single person. went into a pressure isn't there, the extra pressure is not sufficient, and the obvious example of that is the cuban dictatorship. no matter how hard the precious on the outside, it didn't work. people left but there was no pressure. >> critically as a talk about
there's an assembly, votes will be july 30, 9 days from today. your top concerns, what might transpire in the next nine, ten days, if the next couple of weeks, the next couple of months, what are people potentially not talking about that they should be concerned about or not thinking about they should be concerned about as are looking ahead to what might transpire in the short term, in the medium term as well? [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: well, i believe the problems are solved by listening to the people. if the government had to listen to the people, the problems would already be solved. if everything that the people try to express in september and october of last year, if the government had truly listened, then we would be looking at an entirely different situation today.
if all the signatures of the people asking for recall had been respected, the situation would be different. what we have now is a tragedy, 100 dead in protests. that is a tragedy. the voice of the people not to be heard, the scale of the tragedy is something that should be paid attention to by the government and by the opposition. so what's the underlying issue here? i always say no matter how many times you chase your care and the circle, your tail still stays behind you, so the focus of negotiations has not always been on venezuela is true
agenda. election, freedom for political prisoners, these are the true issues. that's what the people need. we have some -- for the government and opposition to reach an agreement on the basis of what the country truly needs. >> if you could keep it just your name come escalation and quick question. no commentary, please. fourth, fifth role here on the isle. and the second question then towards the back. [speaking spanish] >> translator: from university, bogotá,
secretary-general, what hope is there in the efforts in cuba at what do you think of the options of maduro giving up our? >> another question. we'll taken together. right over -- on the site, please. somebody didn't get a seat but gets ask a question. >> thank you. [speaking spanish] >> translator: thank you, secretary-general. voice of america. there are some rumors that congress and white house may issue new sanctions involving an oil embargo. if this were to occur would it be effective? given that this would affect all venezuelans equally and not just the government.
[speaking spanish] >> translator: yes, well, the efforts of president santos which he been underway for months, on top of efforts made by other countries as well. in an attempt to help resolve venezuela is crisis. i believe the entire international community, particularly in the hemisphere, should align with what was set by the venezuelan people. we must resolve specific issues, the issues that the people themselves have highlighted. that's what needs to happen.
people are demonstrating. fair out in the streets -- they are out in the street regardless of what leaders tell them, whether government or opposition leaders. so those people know what they want, and that should be respected by those operating within the country and by the players without. that voice was heard clearly july 16. any manipulation of that come in effort to ignore that sovereign voice will just lead to a repetition of what happened the first weeks of november and december of last year. and it's what brought us here. as a time there was an institutional coalition for venezuelan. it was the recall referendum but
a different path was chosen. they had been playing game since march last year. so that is the problem that should be, not allow the government to play games, not internationally, not internally. [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: on the other topic of sanctions. yes, well, we don't see that, we don't see the profits of oil sales benefiting the venezuelan people. the expectations are that, well,
we see child mortality and maternal mortality and child malnutrition being at rates higher than a places like syria. they've reached their worst levels in the history of venezuela. they are the worst in the country. we are seeing epidemics arise. they had been eradicated decades ago. people are dying because they're not receiving treatment for the chronic illnesses. venezuelans have died of malnutrition. none of the oil profits of benefit the people. they are going to the regime. they are being used to buy support. they are being used to buy the weapons of repression. they are being used to kill venezuelans who are the true owners of the resources of that country, that the regime is
using for its self. so i don't see oil profits going to the people. i do believe that there are other options in play that there are targeted sanctions. sanctions targeting high-level authorities within the regime. that would be one step prior to general sanctions. and i think an analysis would need to be made of the collateral damage that could be caused by a general sanction, that we had to see whether the government could find a way to bypass those sanctions. and further you would need to determine what the effect would be on the hemispheric community, and what percentage of the
countries would be willing to sign ont on to such sanctions. and again what might be some of the collateral damage on the people themselves. so that is an analysis that does need to be completed first. once the analysis has been made, we need to start with individual sanctions. so that chain of command that is cost the 100 deaths of protesters, the ministry of the interior, the national guard, the ministry of defense, the supreme court, the national electoral council. their top authorities that are guilty of torture in the prisons. those people should be subject to individual sanctions.
so we have to analyze those options. we're going to be taking an important institutional step in setting whether the crimes committed by the regime, particularly torture, could be judged as crimes under the rome statute and, therefore, could be tried in the international courts. so that is an institutional step that we will be taking today and will likely announce tomorrow. thank you, mr. secretary-general for your remarks and fishing with those your perspectives -- >> your fight everyday a bit of the venezuelan people. [applause] >> thank you. >> while the stage is reset for a panel discussion i like to take this opportunity to announce the first new tangible product as part of our venezuela strategy. response to the fact that truly understand or better yet acting
on the death of the crisis requires digesting some of the horrible numbers coming out of the country. our venezuelan tracker is a one-stop comprehensive source of up-to-date information on the economic, political, social and financial crises. it's a resource of hard to get often unattainable but yet reliable data that we have gathered led by two of my colleagues, working with a number of people and organizations both in and out of venezuela. this is an ongoing effort and i invite all of you to go to atlantic council.org backslash venezuela tracker to find the latest numbers on what people are living through every day writer in her own hemisphere. today we're launching a beta version with painfully gathered financial and economic data on topics ranging of gdpto inflation to external debt and exchange rates. we thank rodriguez.
thank you to our panelists for her help among others in that effort. this is something will continue update because what to provide a clear picture of the entire world that was what's occurring in venezuela but society, government, media and others were working hard to help the citizens of venezuela and often find it difficult to get reliable or real-time data. at the time when the government is making an effort to keep information hostage we want to do exactly, exactly the opposite. i'm gla good to take a moment an it, it is a panelist but asked them to take the stage. offers panelist now is luis almagro, mexican ambassador for the organization of american states that having assumed his role in may 2016 he's a career diplomat, he served a number of positions including ambassador to austria, a bastards netted nations office in geneva. as we discussed earlier he is
also one of the foremost leaders at the oas on the situation in venezuela, somebody fundamentally understands what is happening in the country and is taking a leadership role in that regard. francisco rodriguez, chief economist. prior to joining the bank he served as the director and senior and economist at bank of america merrill lynch. he was a director of the venezuelan congressional budget office and i'm thrilled francisco should because he really has his fingers on the pulse of economic situation in venezuela. that also beatriz borges whose executive director of the center for justice and peace in venezuela that works a document human rights violations and provide legal counsel to many of the people who are being held hostage by the government. share special focus on women's rights. she proofs it worked at the university in venezuela where she researched human rights,
protection mechanisms. she also got up at 2:00 in the morning to babel to come here from venezuela because of the fact that flight out in the middle of the night makes it more likely they will actually let you leave the country. so thank you very much, beatriz, for doingthat. and our moderator today is the use news director for -- covering political campaigns in the united states and in spain. he served as administer of commerce and tourism and as najaf outset were thankful to the team for the partnership in our venezuela effort, tracker and host of other things. with that i would like to welcome our panel up to the stage. thank you very much. [applause]
>> well, thank you everyone, for coming. thank you for the panelist. i'm not going to introduce you because this has been done. just a couple of points. if you want to follow and contributed to conversation in our social media use #acvenezuela and if you want to mention also the media partner of this event. the debate is going to start 15, 20 minutes and then we'll open for q&a at the end. this ithis is a great panel. so what we expect is a conversation among us, not individual speeches, thank you. i would like to start with ambassador luis almagro. you are a diplomat with a long career. you not difficult sometimes to do the diplomacy.
you are in a position today in an american states with a very critical topic which is venezuela. mexico has evolved its position from two more active and pushing position. what has changed for mexico to take this stage in diplomatic terms? >> thank you very much. first of all, i'm not so sure we have changed. i think if you look into the history of the diplomatic relations, mexico has been a very active country on a number of occasions, of which human rights, democracy were at stake, central american conflict, the situation in chile come its recognition of the opposition,
just to mention a few topics but particularly since 93, we were very eager to make it clear that you cannot involve sovereignty are nonintervention to violate the human rights. >> some could say cuba is a country who also violates human rights. >> it's a different -- it's a different situation and we've always considered it quite different. we have pushed cuba to do much better on human rights but you have to make clear what the differences are here in the main difference is at the level of support, the level of legitimacy, if you want. and the situation of which cuba has been placed by the u.s., we were the only country at the oas to oppose the suspension of cuba in the '60s. and this is not the same
situation today because you have obviously that only commitments on human rights, commitments on democracy, democratic charter, you have a majority of -- last weekend was a proof of it. so for us it's quite important. to go back to this very important principle, look ourselves in the mirror. the situation in mexico, the situation in any other country come in hemisphere, needs to be compared with the situation in venezuela. because we do not want to face a similar situation. [inaudible] >> auditory regime, lack of respective institutions. it has been so difficult to build democracy, human rights come institutions. we need to repair that. >> you have worked in justice
and democracy and your work sometimes has been difficult. i would say dangerous at some point because you are denouncing a very critical topic for the venezuelan government. could you help us to just say how dangerous is a situation today in venezuela? >> thank you for the opportunity to be here and to talk about the situation in my country, very bad situation, and for this space to try to explain what is happening really in venezuela. i'm going to continue in spanish. [speaking spanish] >> translator: i come from the civil society, i'm a human rights defender and i work in recent years has been to help the victims in coache catches we there is a rule of law.
it's a legal matter and applying to protection of the state. however, we are in a completely different situation. people are speaking of a humanitarian crisis, we see that we have an emergency on our hands. a complex you manage an emergency. because in venezuela there are no resources for data with this crisis and that's what it's not a crisis. it's an emergency. so it's important to use the right term for what's happening. now, it is humanitarian because venezuelans are dying. those statistics that are so shocking, that's the reality that we are living. we see a child dying of malnutrition because her mother can't buy milk or a child dying because they can't get an
antibiotic, or people because they can't find a dialysis machine. people who can't buy insulin or get high blood pressure medicine. my mother couldn't get medicine that used to be so easy to find anywhere else. 200,000 people have chronic illnesses that normally for anyone else are not a problem because you go to the pharmacy to buy your medicine, but we can't. [speaking spanish] >> translator: you said you come from civil society. so what impact does this have been civil society? because if it's a permanent crisis and the aid doesn't come
or the oil profits as secretary general almagro said don't benefit, then does it the support for the regime erode? are people looking for a way out? doesn't is lead people to join the opposition? what support is therefore the official government? [speaking spanish] >> translator: no, but that's what makes it so complicated. government has a monopoly. control over the food, over medicine, over everything. so if you heard about these different mechanisms that they use, and now of course this manipulation that they are using with constitutional assembly. there are all sorts of tricks they use to buy people support, by people votes. there are veiled threats. we hope that you and your family
will support me. if anyone doesn't support them, they are persecuted. so i'll not as a sport that the government does enjoy has to do with persecution -- support -- that is undermining human rights. civil society, we're willing to do our work and we will do our work them out who the government is. this government happens to be a human rights violator. we want democracy, but we are unprotected. we help victims, our organization, but with this crisis, in may 2016 we turn to the supreme court of justice. our complete hasn't even been accepted, has a been admitted there's absolutely no protection in place. we received no response -- [speaking spanish] >> translator: what percent is what you think there is for
nicolas maduro? [speaking spanish] >> translator: i think you can see that in the -- low, pretty low. [speaking spanish] >> translator: of course. because people don't have a sense of normalcy. and what we want, of course, is to exercise our right to express our right to vote. >> help us understand the magnitude of the economic situation in venezuela. >> okay, i will start off by giving some numbers and sometimes numbers are really very small to talk about this type of reality, which at a very basic level of human tragedy as beatriz was telling us. an economy between 2012-2016, contracted by 20%. that's a decline in per capita income in venezuela. this you were looking at an additional contraction which according to -- five to ten, 15%. if you add that in will have
contraction per capita income of close to 40%, 35-40%. let's-40%. let's put that in magnitude. there are only six countries in the world in this century that it had this magnitude of economic contraction to quit talking syria, the central african republic, palestine, iraq a united arab emirates. of those countries all but one of them are countries that have been at war. ..
so, yes, this is a huge contract shun what it is due to? policy mistakes. wrong economic policies. the and it also has to do with decline in oilrevenues. these two facts interact. so, venezuela, back in 2012 exported $98 billion. oil prices fell. it exported $28 billion. that is decline in oil production. venezuela invested enough to maintain production. one of the few opec countries. the other one libya seeing reduction in oil production. interaction between mismanagement and lows resources. there is something i do want to contend. i think this will add to the debate. evidence from the past for years
we have when venezuela has less externlynal resources, venezuelan people suffer. venezuela living standards declined significantly last four years as a result of decline in venezuelan revenues. i expect venezuelan revenues decline because of foreign sanctions and there will be continued economic contraction in venezuela and continued human suffering because of it. >> the consequences of sanctions in venezuela. what would be in your from someone who is economist those collateral effects over the population? >> i think they could be huge. i think we have to be very careful thinking about oil sanctions to venezuela. let me explain something about the structure of venezuelaian economy. 95% of venezuelan exports are oil. they are directly controlled by the venezuelan state. so what that means is, everything that venezuela does,
everything that venezuela imports from the rest of the world it is done you there the state with the resources that the state has access to. this poses a relatively difficult problem. imagine we were talking about another country that has a private sector intigrated to the rest of the world. if you have a private sector that generates export revenue, and have public sector, you can cut a lifeline to the government without cutting life teen to the people. if you cut the lifeline to the government, the cut the lifeline to the people. venezuela imports food. not only verifiable. only way things come into venezuela is with dollars that the government has. venezuela imports food with the dollars from oil exports. if you cut those, yes, you will cut resources the government has to undertake repression. you will also undertake cut resources government has for food imports. it is difficult to design
sanctions not affecting the venezuelan people. what i'm concerned, we have a humanitarian crisis. we have humanitarian emergency. if venezuelan oil exports fall by another $10 billion, and imports come down by another $10 billion, this humanitarian crisis and emergency could turn into a disaster. >> translator: especially because we are concerned by sanctions in a human rights sense, because of corruption and drug trafficking. we're also concerned what can affect the people, let's imagine that this is a building where we all live, there is one apartment where the family is fighting, the mother is hitting the kids and husband is hitting the wife. we can say well, we don't live in that one apartment so it doesn't matter but you have to
say something about it. if we cut their water and their life, who will sufficient are from it? everybody in the building because you have to cut the light in the whole building. solidarity at international level regarding institutions that should be solid in collaboration with civil society should be done jointly with any action taken towards venezuela. >> to the ambassador, should the international community impose sanctions on the oil exports from venezuela? [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: to answer in spanish is more delicate answer. because it is complex. there is no possibility to do it
at the international community level except for the security council. it would have to be the security council took action. it is also impossible for something such as certain or the sanctions in the united nations general assembly. that is option never been done at the oas, for instance. but i think that the question of whether it would be a good or bad idea, i think what is most important it has not been a punitive exercise for what we're trying to do or, it has not been lead by the u.s. this is has been a collective issue that has evolved internationally that tried to find all diplomatic ways to solve the problem. it was presented to a democratic charter and suspend the
venezuela at oas. all the states said, no, not yet. we have to first do everything possible at a diplomatic level. and then we went with this, extrordinary assembly and consultations and the answer is exactly that. we were trying to send a message to the venezuelans that we're still looking for some type of resolution through mediation or something like that. and this, apart from the fact that we don't want to hurt the population anymore with sanctions but sanctions should not only be considered economically. they should be taken into account in a political light. because there could be a political sanction, an exclusion, such as they are doing or what is happening in anasud or what could happen at a certain time if there were more
embassies that left venezuela. so there are a group of measures that could be taken before any of these sanctions could be applied or should be applied and we will talk about this next week at the permanent council at the oas. what are they concerned about specifically at this time? i will go back for a little bit to cancun. cancun was not a defeat for us. it was a rupture of kraicon. it doesn't work anymore. it doesn't hp venezuela. we don't need it. the rest of the countries don't need it. what was put down in cancun or what was not accepted was a decision of catecom fractured and they either went against or abstention to a project proposed.
that is something sad but it was important. today, we will try to include the subject once again as at g-14. we'll continue to work as such. yes, we're exercising pressure so that they do it within the oas and they're trying to promote diplomatic pressure on venezuela and led by mexico, colombia, peru, argentina and the united states and canada. so this exercise going back to your question on sanctions i think that it should be dealt with at the level of the g-14. there should be coordinated actions. some unilateral. i am not against any economic measures but against any type of economic measures. >> that is interesting. there are some numbers -- >> you speak so fast. >> i speak, it is venezuelan
accent. >> okay. spanish accent is mine. >> all right. so, you asked about popularity, approval of the government and there are some numbers that put that number at around 20%. it is an interesting number because it is not as low as you would expect given contraction. there is very interesting debate, beatriz was alluding this. in the not-too-distant past has been successful electorally. in those poll numbers, hugo chavez as having a relatively high approval ratings. they don't reject chavez as whole but might reject government of maduro. they take that he governed over the oil boom. conditions were good during his time. that is political reality during
the transition. i want to bring back to the point to sanctions. you have a very unpopular government right now. a government any election held would lose by three to one or four to one ratio. that is what all the polls tell you. we also partnered with a respected polling firm to analysis of sanctions. we'll publish the report on monday. i want to anticipate one of the results. we asked people what their opinion would be be of oil-related sanctions to impede purchase of venezuelan oil of united states. 2% would support it. 62% would oppose it. there is very big risk that policy measures would backfire politically in terms of giving the government more support. allowing the government to characterize these international policy is actions as things that are hurting venezuelans.
>> translator: we have about three or four minutes. beatriz, 300 days people gone to the streets. people are dead an injured. does civil society, are they afraid this constant going out to the streets and, may, tire out some of the citizens and therefore, there will not be enough pressure or enough people going out on the streets? those of us who go out to march, we know when we go out there is high probability of being arrested, injured or assassinated by the representatives of the government that are abusing their control of the specific, or peaceful manifestations. so i think that this, we still feel we have to go looking for a peaceful way of protesting.
those of us who want restoration of democracy, we're trying to do it in a peaceful manner. we're trying to find all democratic ways and proposals. our last mass protest wanted to show what we want to do and obtain. the violent focuses or episodes are generated by the government who are trying to repress these protests. so this citizenry is activating, mobilizing. of course these violations of human rights are a message to stop this. but we are still active and we're still going to fight democratically to obtain international solidarity and all our compatriots and brothers and officers in latin america, so that they help us with something that we can not wait any longer
for and takes lives every day. >> go into the last topic that you mentioned which was the caricom the g-4 is very solid group. you need more votes. you need necessary votes he as much as possible but necessary votes to move forward with the organization of american states. taking into consideration that in cancun it is bleeding too, what are going to be the next step of the g-14 to gain those votes or at least half of them? >> well, let me -- >> if you want to use spanish. atlantic council is pressing me to use my english. [speaking spanish]. >> translator: if you give me that option i will use spanish
then. i believe, and it is something we are discussing within the g- 14 i don't there is be worth exercising pressure on the caribbean. it is very clear which countries are on our side, the six that were in favor of the resolution and we are greatful and we want to protect them and help them because they're being pressured within caticon. forget about the other ones. you won't pet the votes then. doesn't matter we are right. we have the political weight. the first example is next wednesday. we have the permanent council, we put this on the agenda, the g-14 will get there and we will debate it, if we don't get the four votes that we need, we will still discuss it because there are other other points on the program and i don't care if we
speak of it as a priority or one of the them is. but we will speak of it. [applause] and it will cost them. there have to be consequences to the reactions of the caribbean and the consequences should be suffered by those who voted against or abstained. there are national interests, and we recognize them, but what you can not do, go into negotiation and then not comply with the vote. that you should not and can not do. this was a negotiation that had happened in groups, and there were two sets offing intores and there was something that -- nexttores, there is something clear that some people were not faithful to their word and what they promised.
the most important issue we will act independently of the votes. because the oas a anna -- anachronistic organization but we can't do it right now today. >> translator: i will ask something delicate, after the failure of resolution in cancun, it wasn't a failure. the press calls it a failure and diplomacy tries to manipulate the media, right? >> translator: we had almost everybody on our side. the analysis that were done later were that catacomb despends on venezuelan oil. they are hostage to the drug traffickers and corruption. venezuela knows some of these cases and therefore controls them. so what do you agree or disagree with? >> translator: i think there is
economic reliance. there is also some honest gratitude on the part of many of them because venezuela during many years had a solidarity policy towards the development of many of those islands that other countries did not have. so that includes the u.s. but it includes mexico and others that had sporadic presence in the caribbean. that has a lot to do with it. the drug trafficking issue undoubtedly has some rep -- repercussions but it is more isolated. in the a general sense everybody acknowledges. there issue of oil, but also in great measure the projection of integral development packet we never understood but venezuela did understand. they tried to a kick late it and give it a certain sense. but that is something we could
correct. i don't see why we're not doing it. it is not great amounts of dollars. it is more political will that is involved. >> who do you address the question? >> i address the question is francisco and from the venezuelan american council. a lot of reports say a lot of capital in your firm comes from the government and the dictatorship. i don't like to go to the speculate. go to the source. are you aware of any capital from the narc codictatorship? if so is that helping regime maintaining power? >> that is completely false. all our financial statements are audited by finra and sec. you can download from the sec our monthly financial statement its. that is completely false. >> next? >> [inaudible] >> if any, if any firm accepts
money from the government, yes, it would be helping the government stay in power, yes. >> okay. let's go over there, that woman please. yeah. >> [inaudible] >> use your voice. >> use my voice. okay, from the wilson center. >> translator: my question goes to ambassador luis. if the bloc actions and all these efforts have not worked, what are the countries in the region waiting for to take action and act unilaterally and perhaps help the venezuelan people? colombia?
>> translator: i have a different idea of whether this has worked or failed. and i will go back to about a year ago before the secretary-general presented his first report. you couldn't even discuss this at the oas, that now it is being discussed frequently and all these efforts are being made. some resolutions have been approved and others no. the april 3 one, press said they had not obtained the 17 votes but it was perhaps ignorance. not that they were being mean, the press. the propositively i made at the time was to adopt it without voting. when you adopt a resolution without votes, what you count is that there is no opposition, and there wasno opposition. in fact that resolution was accepted by consensus which makes it even more valuable but these are technicalities.
so going back to what is being is being done or what they will do, i think this matter is before the oas, within the oas and what we are doing in helping the venezuelans is something that is always being considered but it is not just being done at the oas. it is being done bilaterally and in subgroups within the region. the precedents got together and minister of foreign relations and yesterday the ministers of foreign relations from mexico got together and they discussed the matter. we are also discussing possibilities from other types of actions. the strength and of this exercise is, lies in understanding that there is a collective vision of a process that should take place. if people believe that's enough,
because you can not force a government in this case, the venezuelan government, to act, then i think they're wrong. i think that pressure has to continue at that level. it will not be military pressure. we don't have coercive measures to use. there are no governments or super national institutions that would do this, nor would it be desirable for them to exist. >> the one behind. >> translator: from venezuela. you speak of some type of things that are being found out there will be sanctions or not. the problem that you described about venezuela and you did so very well, you compared it
historically, isn't this the product of something worse than sanctions? the venezuelan people will not suffer because the u.s. imposes sanctions or another government. but what the government has done with the oil industry in venezuela is, because i don't know if people assign responsibility to the government for hunger, for the violence, if r speaking of this check contraction and it was mismanagement of their income and that, so wouldn't it be absurdity point in history that one little bit more of pressure will harm venezuela when the harm as already been done? >> translator: that is an excellent question. in the first place, yes, 2 has
been measured. i'm sorry the government does, the people do blame the government and that's why they're not popular. so it hasn't gone down as much as economic crisis of 2012. what is my fear of the sanctions? and this is a controversial moment but it is important to clarify this, in 2003 president chavez had 30% approval. now maduro has 20, not too far from there and opposition is mobilizing to have some type of election in venezuela so that they can change the government. and there was a fundamental change in, that happened 2:00 in december, venezuela people said we can't force the referendum,
that have a indefinite strike. it happened two months. it was indefinite in time because they weren't able to achieve their purchase so they stopped striking. that event marked a point in the sinking ever the people. that is when chavez gained some points of approval. so the recent i'm afraid, what i'm afraid of, is is that i have a great deal of for is that, -- fear. it is very clear until now, what we have to do, with the governments of maduro and chavez is leave them alone, because when you leave them alone they will dot harm they're doing and people will realize it is their fault. so there are other factors that complicate the situation, that might give credibility to the story that maduro is trying to tell.
that it is all the external factors are recall haing the people, et cetera. that's why i think it is important to take into account and measure what the effect of public opinion is. all i'm saying is, there is an important risk, i have no doubt that the main responsibility of what is happening in venezuela has to do with the government policies but, the risk exists that if sanctions are imposed, they might be used by the government to reinforce this perception that it isn't the government but actions against the government that are hurting. >> over there. the second one over here. >> translator: from venezuela and my question is is to ambassador luis almagro. no, i'm just from venezuela. i live in washington.
i'm from venezuela. no, i don't work for the embassy. i'm just from venezuela. my question has to do with what is your perception within the oas because as a venezuelan, part of civil society i see that any change perceived as change, positive change, actions by the government, have meant the pressure has also effect. it is not talked about as much. people say they did this. then the pressure is relieved a bit. so my question is, if the venezuelan government, in this case nicolas maduro, does away with the assembly, with would be the level of commitment of the g-14 to continue exercising
pressure and so that doesn't mean that the countries let their guard down and just wait for something else before they put more pressure on venezuela. the other question over here and then we'll conclude with that. >> global policy reporter. think progress. the u.s. is considering unilateral oil sanctions. >> who do you address the question? >> to the whole panel. just wait for the question. >> all right. >> if the u.s. does go ahead with these unilateral oil sanctions, i'm curious to know how you feel, the panel feels this will impact any international intervention you're talking about. how it will affect or deepen the humanitarian/human rights crisis/catastrophe/emergency. and how impact any future recovery? you have to look beyond what is happening now.
elections were chosen that were easiest path for. what the g 14 in my opinion needs to do is not worry about the pressure of the caribbean. i think that something needs to be worked on more in the medium term. what we could do now is, in addition to just, coordinating better with the u.s. and canada, is, to, just work regionally, support in europe and probably support from some asian states, perhaps, perhaps even some african states. that is what we need to do. now i don't think there would be any use taking it to the united nations. i know mechanics very well of what that would look like.
and i think there would be solidarity with venezuela, expressed there. but what we need to do is send a signal that this concern is not limited to the hem miss fear. the hemisphere has a central role to play but backed by a lot of other people. >> that is difficult question. if the u.s. goes ahead with unilateral sanctions, the future of recovery, in terms of humanity. in terms of crisis, in terms of democracy. in terms of international intervention. >> let me talk about the economy. i do think that there is a risk here that there will be lasting effect which will make recovery much more difficult. think about the oil sector. think about what sanctions, for example, impeding american firms doing would entail, they would entail things like chevron, schlumberger, halliburton, pulling out of venezuela. these are fundamental for the
country's oil infrastructure. it would entail divestment pedevesa forced to sell citgo. there is no way they can do that without bond issues, they would have to pay back the bonds. it would have to come upwith $4 billion cash to pay bonds. if it doesn't do that would force default on these bonds and likely force a default across the whole curve. it would go orderly default and sue pedevesa to seize assets. it could create a mess that would be very hard for pedavesa. it would take time. would it be possible? take a lot of time and effort for pedevesa to recover from transition and that scenario. [speaking spanish.
>> translator: i think pressure and solidarity will be the most important thing. that will have the best impact for venezuelans. we want peaceful transition. to to get out of this emergency. and of course we're going to need to build a new country. and so, we need support, and action. more than sanctions, which could hurt the venezuelas. individual sanctions yes for those who are responsible but we don't want to keep dying of hunger. >> translator: along the same linesas beatriz, if we want
successful negotiations we need both parties at the table which is very unlikely owing to the level of polarization. but we believe in a peaceful solution. we don't want to exacerbate the situation. we want to recognize whatever progress is made. we think the constituent assembly is a step back but, but we applauded the transfer to house arrest for lee polled lopez. as an example, that is what we need to do. just to wrap up, historically sanctions, the secretary-general already referred to the case of south africa. i would say that they have quite varied track record, and one would have to make a very careful analysis of what kinds could work and we ones might not. but we have to absolutely distinguish between multilateral
sanctions and unilateral sanctions. i would be worried that unilateral, unilateral sanctions would not be done in coordinated way with countries working together. and, we don't have the political will or the institutional forum to get multilateral sanctions. so, i shouldn't say that as an ambassador but i think regardless of what sovereign nations might decide would be good, that all nations take into account the impact, that any actions might have on the cohesion within the g-14 to we don't find ourselves further away from the solution than we are now. >> a lot of effort to create -- go to the websites.
and thanks to the work of bepatriz, francisco and many others you will find critical information to understand how difficult the situation in venezuela. with that information and those explanations today i think we understand better what is going on in this country. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations].
[inaudible conversations]. >> so can you try toimpose covenants on -- i'm sure be risks of -- >> according to news reports venezuela's government says it will go ahead with the july 30th election of what it calls the constituent assembly to rewrite the country's constitution. nothing and nobody can stop it, the constituent assembly is happening, foreign minister said on tuesday. the venezuelan people are free and will respond united to the insolent made by xenophobic an racist empire according to several newspapers. president trump warned of strong and swift economic actions
against venezuela if those elections were held but did not specify what those actions might be. one of venezuela's english language newspapers is reporting, count of detentions recorded during anti-government protest in venezuela from april 1st to date has yielded 4072, including 100persons remain imprisoned. reporting human rights ngo venezuelan criminal forum. more than 500 are deintakennedded in military courts. add to this number, 444 people considered political prisoners, even though they were arrested before the beginning of the protests against the government of nicholas maduro. according to the human rights advocate most detentions have taken place in the middle of the demonstrations. tonight sarah huckabee sanders will discuss her involvement in politics as daughter of are governor mike huckabee, why she joined
the trump campaign and how she approachs the job of deputy press secretary. here is a preview. >> walk us through a typical day for for sarah huckabee sanders. >> i don't know if there is typical day. starts around 5:00 a.m. i get up, i have only one early riser. hawk, my 3-year-old. i spend time visiting with him in the morning before i leave, get to the office, early enough to try to read through and catch up on any news that took place before i went to bed. and then we start with a series of staff meetings around 7:15, talking about the news of the day. prepping for what we want the message of the day to look like, and responding to any stories that may be coming up. you know, from there every day is a little different than the one before which is one of the reasons i love what we do, is that no two days are alike. ever day presents new challenges, gives us a new way to be part of the
administration. >> host: you get home when? >> guest: anywhere between 7:00 to 10:00 atnight. >> host: as you take on this job, i mean, sean spewser made a couple of changes, skype seats among them, how do you approach the job of deputy press secretary? how do you approach relations with the media in general? >> guest: the same way i, relations with the media, the way i approach it try to do that, the same way i would any other relationship. i grew up in south. being hospitable i think something ingrained to me at an early age. something i try to take into my work place and in everything that i do there and so i try, even though when i disagree i try to be diplomatic and gracious about it but sometimes we have to be pretty aggressive and push back but i try to do that in a way that is again polite and hospitable but also strong and not weak.
>> during the interview sarah huckabee sanders also talks about life on the campaign trail. see the entire interview tonight at 8:00 eastern time on c-span, c-span dot-org or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> our live coverage commissioning of the uss gerald r. ford is 10:00 a.m. eastern. the supercarrier, named after our 38th president, is the navy's newest nuclear powered high-tech aircraft carrier. president trump will attend the ceremony at naval base in norfolk, virginia, an deliver remarks to 14,000 people expected to attend. saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org. listen live on the free c-span radio app. on wednesday, vice president mike pence chaired the first meeting of the presidential advisory commission on election