ODAY VENEZUELA – Venezuela’s right to vote has been suspended at the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) after racking up a debt of USD $24 million.
This is the second time in three years that the large debts of the government of Nicolás Maduro have gone unpaid to the United Nations.
The Caribbean country leads the list of debt defaulters, followed by Libya with USD $6.5 million, Somalia with USD $1.3 million, and Guinea-Bissau with USD $442,552.
The suspension became effective on January 25 when UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres notified the president of the UN General Assembly that Venezuela and 13 countries would be temporarily losing their right to vote in the forum.
The notification states that “the amount owed is equal to or greater than the total of the installments owed for the previous two full years (2015-2016).”
Under Article 19 of the Charter of the United Nations, related to the membership requirements that must be honored by member states, Venezuela can not participate in any vote that the General Assembly may make at its seventy-first session until it cancels its debts.
As of February 21, 2017, the UN Contribution Committee reported that ten member states are in arrears under Article 19, but only six are unable to vote in the General Assembly, most of them countries with high levels of poverty: Cape Verde, Libya, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Vanuatu, and Venezuela.
Article 19 allows a vote in the General Assembly if it can be proven that the country can not pay its dues “for reasons beyond its control” but Venezuela, which is experiencing a severe economic crisis due to falling oil prices, inflation, and an alleged “economic war,” has given no explanation.
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