Non-Custodial Humanitarian Aid is not aid

By Luis Manuel Aguana

Versión en español

Message from former UN Ambassador Diego Arria to the Lima Group: “For God’s sake, friends of the Lima Group, a true humanitarian intervention involves the accompaniment of military force if you really want to achieve it. This is what we did in Bosnia during our presence in the UN Security Council” (see message in  https://twitter.com/Diego_Arria/status/1100135015889936391). So I ask myself: What did the political leadership intend then by sending unarmed people to receive and distribute that aid? Were they irresponsibly taking civilians to the slaughterhouse believing that some murderers would let aid pass peacefully? Or was that message “Humanitarian Aid coming in yes or yes” an irresponsible bluff from Guaidó?

In any case, assuming that the parade was already public and could not be reversed, all Venezuelans believed that it was clear that if the thing was “yes or yes” there was the necessary support for the aid to reach its destination, regardless of anything that happened. Well, what happened happened, they murdered the Pemons and the people who passed with the trucks, they terrorized and still terrorize the populations bordering Colombia and Brazil, and they burned the trucks with medicines and food.

Then I have to come to the conclusion that the pod was improvised and irresponsible to leave to their fate and under the threat of murderers, the delivery of that important and valuable cargo, which had to go through innumerable alcabalas and unsafe roads to reach their destiny. Was it that they thought the regime would fall when the trucks passed and that the murderers would stay in their homes when the same regime announced that they would send their thugs? Hence Arria’s statement: “… a true humanitarian intervention involves the accompaniment of military force if you really want to achieve it”.

In other words, international experience indicates that it is not possible to carry humanitarian cargo anywhere without military custody. It is not a question of these soldiers coming to overthrow Maduro or anyone else. They come to guard a shipment of food and medicine so that what happened at Puente Santander or what happened to the Pemones in Santa Elena de Uairén does not happen. They come to protect the cargo and those who receive it.

And therefore, in order for this cargo to be properly guarded, international missions armed with friendly armies must be allowed to enter, and I repeat, they would not come to knock anyone down but to guard the shipment of precisely those murderous hordes that caused the entire tragedy of the 23F.

Now, regardless of the planned or unplanned clumsiness of the Venezuelan opposition political leadership to send that aid without custody to Venezuela, if after having seen everything that happened live and directly from Cúcuta, the Foreign Ministers of the countries of the Lima Group or any other country of the International Community, insist that the regime will peacefully let there be another attempt to introduce aid for a people dying in hospitals and starving in the streets, so it is perfectly enforceable to them the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) because they already know for sure that the government of the country is not protecting its population, and consequently we Venezuelans are born with the right to request it (see Numbers 138 and 139 of the Final Document of the 2005 World Summit, in https://tinyurl.com/yxcmt7vs) by virtue of which all of them signed in 2005 to be “willing to take collective action in a timely and decisive manner … if peaceful means are inadequate and it is evident that national authorities do not protect their population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity “. And if they have doubts about that they ask the Pemones of the Bolívar State or the border towns of Ureña and San Antonio del Táchira. And for that Humanitarian Aid we desperately need must be guarded by an armed contingent of those countries that want to help us. Period!

We were so aware of this situation, that in order for Humanitarian Aid to occur, it was necessary for the National Assembly to authorize “the use of foreign military missions in the country,” as stated in Article 187, numeral 11 of the current Constitution, a group of Venezuelans belonging to the National Original Constituent Alliance (ANCO), assisted by Dr. José Vicente Haro, proposed and sent directly to Fraction 16J of the AN, before the session of the National Assembly on February 19, a draft of Agreement to be considered within the parliament to authorize this foreign mission in the country before February 23, 2019 (see full text of the proposed draft in https://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2019/02/propuesta-de-acuerdo-ayuda-humanitaria.html).

Regrettably, this proposal was rejected by the National Assembly in its session of February 19, 2019, approving an “Agreement for the Authorization of entry into the country of Humanitarian Aid”, without taking into account this fundamental aspect to ensure that such assistance could effectively enter the country safely (see http://www.asambleanacional.gob.ve/actos/_acuerdo-para-la-autorizacion-de-ingresoal-pais-de-la-ayuda-humanitaria). This proposal was made with no other interest than to collaborate with the country and for the Deputies to make the right decision, which unfortunately did not happen and that is why I make it publicly known.

I do not enter to qualify if it was irresponsible or not the decision of the Deputies to approve an Agreement that did not consider the authorization of a foreign military mission for the custody of the Humanitarian Aid -they would know why they did it-, but what I do believe is that it is not possible to create false expectations to a hungry people and dying in the hospitals to give them an excuse that we already know perfectly since the events of Puente Llaguno in 2002: that this is a murderous regime capable of any barbarity to stay in power, like releasing prisoners from prisons and arming them to assault innocent citizens. That in itself is a crime of Lesa Humanidad applicable to all those officials of the regime who participated in that.

In view of the events of the 23F, the official opposition cannot continue to offer the entry of Humanitarian Aid without authorising a foreign military mission to guard it. If the countries of the International Community do not wish to accompany this aid, it will be preferable that it remains outside because it will be lost, as well as the lives of those who dare to introduce it to this country controlled by murderers. But it is indispensable that the National Assembly authorizes it in accordance with the Constitution. If the regime fears that this foreign military mission will come to the country to evict them from power, that is its problem. It comes to assist Venezuelans who die in hospitals due to hunger and lack of medicines, and if they dare to prevent it there will be armed violence but really, not between murderers and unarmed people as happened on the 23F, but with highly trained international military professionals. If we go again and truly with Humanitarian Aid, then the National Assembly has the word.

Caracas, February 27, 2019

Blog: http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/

Email: luismanuel.aguana@gmail.com

Twitter:@laguana

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