tv Discussion on Venezuela CSPAN February 6, 2020 2:48pm-4:24pm EST
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yourself. and make up your own mind. with c-span's campaign 2020, brought to you as a public service by your television provider. the center for strategic and international studies recently hosted a conversation on venezuela. focusing on the political and humanitarian situation in that country. nicolas maduro is ruling venezuela but the united states and other countries have recognized juan guaido as the legitimate president of venezuela. welcome everybody. my name is moises randall, i'm the director of the future of
venezuela, the program, and unfortunately due to last-minute travel issues, john mendelssohn from the american university who was going to join us for this panel is not going to be able to make it anymore. i would like to mention that we're mindful anymore. i would like to mention we're mindful this is an all-male panel and we're doing as much as possible to include women in our events. especially when we discuss venezuela, we like to focus how the various crises in venezuela affect men and women differently and it's important for how solutions can be beneficial to all venezuelans. we're discussing today a very timely topic, the implications of invoking the entire american treaty of reciprocal assistance, known as the -- tr for its initials in spanish. just for a quick background, the united states and 11 other western nations invoke the tr, the real treaty to facilitate a regional response to the crisis in venezuela. as the first step on september
23rd of 2019, 16 out of the 19 member countries voted and agreed to impose targeted sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the government of nicolas maduro. they also pledged to meet again within two months to discuss additional measures. i think these deliberations have potential implications for u.s. policy. this is why we're here to walk us through all of these implications and what the real treaty means and how this affects the crisis, right? so -- and this is not only a timely issue, because interim president juan guaido is meeting with world leaders at davos as we speak, but also because the treaty sheds some light on what is left in the policy tool kit, right, on venezuela. because we have already done so much. for this treaty particularly, kind of gives room to more options, and that's what we want to get into.
so i think there are two big questions for this discussion that i want to make sure that every single one in the room leaves with clarity and some answers to those two big questions. the first one, basics, what is the real treaty and what are its implications in the venezuelan crisis? the second question is, what is different from the real treaty compared to sanctions and diplomatic measures that we already have imposed today to the maduro regime? so how the real treaty makes our international response differently. we have a great bench, a great panel today to tackle those questions. thank you all, ambassadors, for joining. you all have their bios with you, so i won't go through them, but again i want to thank the ambassadors -- two permanent ambassadors to the oas and ambassador brownfield to join us for this timely discussion. ambassador, we will start with you. thank you again for joining.
the floor is yours. >> i want to begin by thanking csis and especially mr. rendon and his team for hosting this event. the treaty known in spanish as tr has become an important tool to the entire government of juan guaido and of its international campaign against maduro and his criminal regime. venezuela under the presidency of late hugo chavez in late tb12, claimitb1 2012. the national assembly approved operation to the treaty. since then we have convened a meeting of consultation of foreign ministers and implemented solutions aimed at
eroding maduro's support base. despite these diplomatic achievements we can't escape reality. maduro remains in power. maduro is still there. and his regime shows little signs of abandoning its dictatorial ways. the treaty was conceived in a very different era. at that time, the war was settling after world war ii and the conflicts were fought by states in battlefields -- in conventional battlefields. economies were smaller. the world was far less connected. and the most important technological advancement in the field of communications were difficult -- were very difficult to access and controlled by few countries or a few companies. we now live in an era of conflict between states and non-state actors.
that's new. and there are new technologies, too. the globalization of criminal enterprises like drug cartels have allowed the rise of organizations that rival the world's largest corporations. we can say the same about terrorist organizations, which have activities not limited by the state borders. terrorist groups such as farc, the eln and hezbollah, which have proven to be worse adversaries for regional and global powers, are now operating in venezuela. furthermore, we live in a world where a small group of people with access to the internet technology can weaponize public opinion and influence the masses at the very, very low cost. this is evidence of a global disinformation war that is more efficient than traditional propaganda.
the world has seen a proliferation of fake sites, user accounts or content that target the public with divisive messages. last sunday, moses naim wrote to the spanish paper about how russian hackers have learned to sow confusion in the societies to try to adopt about what or w.h.o. to believe, to deepen the differences and conflicts that already exist or invent new ones. to promote some political actor and destroy the reputation of others. all this they can do and they do, not only in their neighboring countries, but in any country in the world. hackers and russians bots have intervened in catalonia, brexit, germany, france, estonia, georgia, ukraine, and a lot of more countries. but it's not only the advanced
news of what the russian government calls political technologies, they also have the ability to use cyber weapons to attack the electrical networks, telecommunication, transportation or financially attack another country. a few days ago, last sunday, "the new york times" diplomatic correspondent wrote that "watching political unrest explode across south america this fall, officials of the state department noticed an eerily similar pattern in anti-government protest that otherwise had little in common." in chile, supporting protests in late october originated with splinter accounts that had been linked by russia. in bolivia after president
morales resigned, the number of accounts spiked to more to 1,000 a day up to fewer than 5 per day. peru, colombia and chile, over one 30-day period, russia-linked accounts posted extremely similar messages within 90 minutes of one another. and analysis done in the first quarter of 2019 showed that russia -- russia today in spanish garnered nearly 100 million visits in one month. these outlets not only spread misinformation, but mobilize public opinion to destabilize regional governments and in one month russia had access to 1/10 of the region and provide them with news and entertainment. gaining influence over latin america which was once through
coups and revolution has now moved to social media where anybody can be reached. however, russia is not solely responsible for the social and security issues in the region. they have tapped legitimate reasons of social unrest. maduro also shares a lot of the blame. the massive output of immigrants with several needs to the region has put our already fragile social peace in crisis. maduro hopes that that will force us to focus on domestic policy instead of pushing for his ouster. perhaps as worrisome is the means by which he ensured the regime's survival. he has aligned himself with notorious drug cartels, criminal gangs and terrorist groups, granting them safe haven in exchange for the help in the defense of the so-called revolution.
this has serious repercussion for the people of venezuela. especially those who live in border states and in the middle reach areas south of the river. there are paramilitary groups that seek protection from worse, while criminal gangs fight an all-out war for the middle resources, which is to finance their activities. the tr doesn't take into account this new form of war. the possibility of attacking a country can assume ways that did not exist in 1947. nor the possibility of a government co-opted by an illegitimate ruler coordinated with non-state actors to create a domestic and foreign condition for its survival. in this context, we conceive that the maduro regime represents a credible threat to the stability of the region and the state in the treaty.
the tr presents itself as a tool with the potential to channel multilateral solutions to this new kind of regional problems. however, as with any tool, it needs to be updated to reflect the needs of the 21st century. this means being creative about the action to take to deal with an unprecedented issues we face. we need to be open to new ideas, to think outside the box. the cost of not doing so is far too great. i hemisphere in constant crisis and the resources of one of the richest regions of the world funding criminal gangs, terrorist groups, and this destabilizing movement. thank you. >> thank you. thank you, ambassador. okay. you cover a lot of information. i'm writing down what are the key points that we want to go back to because there's a lot of here. ambassador, thank you so much
for joining. what -- how do you see this playing into the venezuelan crisis? >> thank you, moses. i want to thank you for the invitation to csis. it's a pleasure for me to join with the fellow ambassadors this afternoon. some my colleagues are also here. thank you for being together with us. so, the ambassador has provided some context. i think it's very appropriate that he did so. i will try to address in very short remarks what -- why we consider the tr continues to be a valuable tool for us, exerting pressure and obtaining some of our political and strategic objectives in the region, and at the same time the -- these remarks are structured around what we consider to be three main misperceptions about the tr. so i will address those very shortly and then, of course, i'm open to a q & a after we finish here.
so i think it's fair to say -- to begin with the treaty -- the real treaty -- and recently has one of the most commented international legal instruments, as least for us in the americas. and as i said, probably i think it's unfair, but probably the real treaties perhaps are misunderstood and have a very bad reputation. discussions on the matter of the application of the real treaty are usually hampered by the three misperceptions that i mention. first -- the first misperception, that the real treaty is an instrument for military intervention. now, the real treaty has been applied to at least 20 situations since it entered into force in 1948. my colleagues in the mission have helped me in putting
together a brief summary of these 20 situation -- different situations in which we have invoked the treaty. in none of these situations did a military intervention effectively take place or the use of force. of course we can make a disclaimer regarding the cuban missile crisis in 1962 because there was a resolution that authorized the use of force. it never took place, but we certainly have to make this disclaimer because there was a resolution in 1962 that actually authorized the use of force to continue the situation in cuba. this resolution, however, never reach the security council of the united nations. so it was never actually put entirely into force. it served, of course, as leverage, political leverage, military leverage and helped contain the situation and finally resolve it, but it was resolved through other means, not under the umbrella of the tr, necessarily. now, the majority of situations
referred essentially to traditional threats involving two or more member states of the organization of american states. and this situation in general addresses a vision of territory or interference in domestic affairs. and only in four cases had the real treaty been applied to address issues that involved an extra continental threat. because of cuba, as i mentioned, in 1962, which involved threats with the cessation of the cuban government at the time with a soviet block. and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. before the situation in venezuela, someone was the previous case in which we invoked the treaty.
so it was for all purposes enacted to a long time. so far, my contention is far from being for military intervention, the real treaty is an effective mechanism for peaceful mediation of conflicts. it sounds perhaps a little awkward to say so, but it's actually how -- if you look in perspective, in historical perspective, you will agree with me. in the case of the present venezuelan crisis, the use of force is not on the table. although it is a measure foreseen in the treaty. you find authorization of the use of force as one of the provisions in the treaty. in this specific instance, treating the situation in venezuela, we have not considered the adoption of measures of the -- involving the use of force. now, the second misperception is that the real treaty is -- [ inaudible ] now, the most common perception
of the treaty is that it is an outdated byproduct of the cold war and that it should not exist anymore or is not useful as a tool for its member states. and it's true, to be fair, that the real treaty was designed as a collective defense mechanism in the context of the cold war, and it was effective when it was used and applied to at least situations like the one in cuba when cuba acted as a proxy to the soviet union. and nonetheless, as mentioned before, the vast majority of these cases -- of the cases where the real treaty was applied -- referred, as i said, to traditional threats involving two or more countries of the hemisphere. there was no direct relation to the cold war. and if you look at the 20 situations that i mentioned, the reference to the cold war perhaps only was more clear than
the situation involving cuba in 1962. so, the real treaty in practice as we see it is a broad legal basis that cannot -- can be applied to a set of different situations. it covered not only extra military threats and conflicts among countries of the regions, it is also open to situations, as it's stated in article vi, the vulnerability or the integrity of the sovereignty of an american state should be affected by an aggression, which -- or even broader situation, by any fact or situation that might endanger the peace of the americas. that is a provision in the treaty. those situations which are reflected, as i said, in article vi, are the basis for the two latest situations which justified, in our view, the application of the real treaty. the 9/11 terrorist attacks and
the present case in venezuela. so, far from being anachronistic, we consider the real treaty to be a dynamic up to date legal instrument that survived the cold war and proved and continues to prove to be a very useful tool for us as an inter-american mechanism. now, to conclude, the third misperception is that the real treaty is a panacea for addressing the political crisis in venezuela. we need to be clear about this. the real treaty was not designed to put an end to authoritarian regimes, nor to pacify societies. neither, it is intended, necessarily, as a means to restore democracy in any given country. so, what is the role of the real treaty in the venezuelan crisis? in my humble opinion, the main purpose of the real treaty is to
address the threats that the maduro regime poses to security and instability in the region. it aims to address security impacts in the region as a consequence of the criminal state that has been installed in venezuela. if you look the migration crisis, for instance. but the ambassador has referred to much more serious situations like the free operation of terrorists and criminal gangs inside the venezuelan territory, which is obviously a source of major concern for neighboring partner countries. the two resolutions that we have adopted so far in the consideration of the real treaty established a mechanism to investigate and to punish persons associated with the maduro regime responsible for transnational organized crime. if you look at the two resolutions, the one in
september last year and the most recent one adopted on 3, december, they establish the operational network of agencies that are in charge of investigation, police investigations, money laundering investigations. this operation network is supposed to bring us suggestions on how to deal with this situation in a collective manner. the real treaty, therefore, is part of an array of measures to address this multidimensional crisis in venezuela. it targets one specific and very significant component of the crisis, but the real treaty alone will not restore democracy in venezuela. this is a task for the venezuelan people. so, concluding remarks. first, the real treaty is not a panacea for the venezuelan crisis, but it is a useful tool,
crucial instrument to prevent the maduro regime from continue fuelling destabilization in the region. number two, the real treaty is a legally binding instrument and allows most of the state parties to apply measures that could not otherwise be implemented. like enforcing the travel ban that we have adopted last december that involves 29 figures associated with the maduro regime. the decision to sanction these 29 persons of the maduro regime, as i say, illustrates a meaningful measure that could not be implemented. in most legal systems and other countries in the hemisphere, but that can now be applied because of the real treaty because the real treaty establishes that other than the use of force, all of the decisions adopted are mandatory to all of the member states.
then, number three, other measures under article viii of the treaty are also on the table. the red line for us has been the use of force, which is not being currently considered as an option. number four, one important side effect of the real treaty is to contribute to increasing the isolation, the international and regional isolation of the regime, and i think it has proved effective also in that regard. and finally, the treaty's part of a combined measure by the international community, not only the hemisphere, but international community as a whole, to assist venezuelan people in finding their path back to democracy. i'll be available later for your questions. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> for your attention. >> thank you, ambassador. thank you again. >> thank you. >> great. i think we put into context what the real treaty is. now we're going to hear from our beloved senior adviser at csis,
bill brownfield. as you know, he was an ambassador to colombia, venezuela and chile recently. so, ambassador, what's your thoughts on this issue? >> i'm not just a senior adviser to csis, i'm an uncompensated senior adviser for csis. ladies and gentlemen, you have now had the benefit of hearing from two experts on the matter of the tr, the rio treaty, it's history, its applicability. let's hear from someone not familiar with the total history of the rio treaty. not even an expert on the organization of american states. but he does have a brain. he is, after all, from the state of texas, and he is capable of at least offering some sug suggestions as to why the rio treaty should be a helpful
mechanism or tool for the western hemisphere and its governments to deal with the venezuela crisis. and i'll offer six reasons. after all, if ambassador seamus can offer three, i should be able to offer double that number. >> first. >> it is an excellent mechanism for coordination among western hemisphere governments. because it is a formal legal mechanism. the lima group is a superb coordination mechanism, but it is an informal grouping. it does not have legal status, if you will. i personally am strongly in favor of the work of the lima group and equally in favor of cooperation through the rio treaty mechanism. second, it strengthens the
position, the authorities, the credibility of the organization of american states. and on matters in this hemisphere, particularly matters related to venezuela, that is an important positive element. the rio treaty in essence was promulgated and ratified through the oas mechanism. application of the rio treaty provides greater strength and greater authority, whether moral or legal or simply perceptions around the world to the oas. third, the rio treaty is an effective mechanism for messaging other international organizations and ngos throughout the world as to the seriousness with which the nations of the western hemisphere are taking the crisis
and the consequences of the crises in venezuela today. those international organizations can be the united nations and its constituent elements. the humanitarian. the economic. the human rights suborganizations of the united nations. it can also be regional organizations such as the european union, the african union, the other regional organizations spread around the world, and the ngo community would include and incorporate the humanitarian ngos, the human rights ngos, the economic ngos. all of them benefit and receive a message when the nations of the western hemisphere talk about their treaty for reciprocal assistance within the hemisphere. fourth, let us be frank.
at some point, as i have said many times over the last two years, at some point we know how this book ends in venezuela. we in a sense know how the final chapter ends. what we to not know is how many chapters there will between now and the end and how long the final chapter will be. the rio treaty serves, to some extent, as a useful mechanism for talking about, discussing, considering and even preparing for some form of hemispheric mul multinational role when the moment arrives that there is some form of transition in venezuela. it could be as a result of invitation from the government or the interim government then
in office in venezuela. or it could be by unanimous conclusion within the hemisphere that the situation has reached such a level that some form of international cooperation to address it is an important thing. and the rio treaty would contribute to an organized and carefully coordinated process should the hemisphere reach that conclusion. and fifth, we have talked -- every single one of us have talked about the humanitarian crisis. the fact that somewhere between 5 and 6 million venezuelan citizens have left their nation as refugees due to the situation at home. and how it is overwhelmingly the nations of the western
hemisphere that are accepting those refugees and bearing the consequences of those movements. ladies and gentlemen, if we ever reach the point where with or without invitation a decision is reached collectively to provide humanitarian assistance to or within venezuela, the rio treaty is perhaps a more effective formal legal mechanism for both considering and eventually delivering that assistance should that be the decision. and finally, i can collude the same way i have concluded oh so many of my presentations on venezuela over the last two years. why do i think the rio treaty is a politically effective device or mechanism today?
because in my opinion talking about the rio treaty and, in fact, applying specific provisions of the rio treaty, in my humble opinion, produce sleepless or at least disturbed sleeping evenings, perhaps, for mr. nicolas maduro or for his excellent minister of defense, mr. lopez. i frankly would argue that anything that has them concerned about what might actually happen, what might finally be decided by the other nations of this hemisphere in terms of the rio treaty is actually a good thing regardless of what happens. the fact that they are worried about it is good. the fact that they have to take that into account as they assess and determine how they will deal
with the opposition, how they will deal with the interim constitutional government or president of the republic of venezuela is a good thing. ladies and gentlemen, the rio treaty is an extremely complicated issue through the last, what, 74, 73 years of history in the western hemisphere. i suggest to you that we should not look upon the rio treaty as a tree, and we assess its branches, its leaves and the veins on the branches -- on the leaves. that can take us years and years of discussion. the rio treaty, in my metaphor, is a large forest. walk into that forest, and it will take you in almost any direction you wish to go. of course, we must have a clear enough sense and understanding of the treaties, their branches,
leaves and veins on those leaves to know what is permitted or not permitted in the forest, but the forest gives us a multitude of options. let's keep those options open. with that, dr. rendon, i relinquish the floor. >> thank you. thanks, ambassador. great. so, i mean, we have a lot of material here to cover. i would like to go back to you. probably connecting to what ambassador brownfield was describing as what the rio treaty and how can it be helpful now. i mean, on one hand we have support by russia, iran, china, cuba, under the maduro regime. despite that support, maduro is more isolated than ever before, right? i mean, we have a regime that is sanctioned, that is not recognized as a legitimate government by more than 55 countries, and has legal, economic and diplomatic implications moving forward, and
we're seeing those playing out every week, every day. but despite that, the maduro regime has found a way to adapt to these sanctions and international restrictions. so how -- how all of these tools that we're describing that the rio treaty has on the table, and has had on the table for over 70 years. how does it differentiate itself from what we have so far? which are, again, sanctions, diplomatic pressure. we have a coalition of different countries increasing pressure on maduro on a constant basis. how are these tools in the rio treaty can be different, maybe more effective to reach, you know, to reach a safer and a more prosperous venezuela? yes? >> i agree with ambassador
brownfield in the sense that all of the possibilities opened by the treaty must be on the table. as ambassador seamus says, in the discussions we have in new york and then in bowith the majorities of all the countries around the table were against the use of militarier for. military force. but what i think is that the military force as it is stated in the treaty is a conventional military force. the conventional use of military force. and what i tried to say in my first intervention is that there is new ways of war. the war is not the same today as it was 70 years ago. er if in the department of defense, the pentagon, there is
a cyber command. this cyber command is acting right now. there is a war. we will not speak about that, but in this cyber manned that i are fighting against hackers. they are fighting against the use of misinformation about any kind of new tools that are open by this new -- the newest technology in order to harm countries. and this kind of war cannot be excluded from the application of the treaty. we have to think about that. it's a new field, but this still, in my sense, is open. the second way that the use of force can be put away is drug traffic. the venezuelans right now, one of the most important transit countries of drugs in the world. the majority of drugs goes to
europa -- europe and to the united states goes through venezuela. and mostly openly. there are registration of flights after they leave venezuela to other countries, mainly central america, and very, very few countries' ships go from venezuela all the way -- therefore, the use of force, of naval force, of a naval blockade of drug traffickers. there is very clear information that -- about which ships drug transporters and which not, and it should be very easy for our force to intercept and to block the drugs that came from venezuela. and that is very important. not only because the drug is a problem for everyone and for every country.
it's very important because the drugs benefit -- the drugs which came from money of this traffic is going to finance troops from the coloia guerilla who act for venezuela. international terrorism, namely hezbollah, that take a lot of money out of venezuela and out of drug traffic which comes from venezuela. that means that the problem as ambassador brownfield said, is extremely complex, but extremely -- maybe extremely useful if in the fight that is a very global fight against this kind of irregular factors that appears in the world scenario and that we have to confront in order to preserve freedom and democracy. >> thank you. ambassador simmons, anything to
add? >> yeah, shortly, but thank you. i think the ambassador has again mentioned very legitimate aspects of the venezuelan crisis that justify state parties to the treaty meeting and adopting collective decisions, and i fully support the approach that the treaty continues to be a valid tool to be used in this specific situation. what i would like to address with you is a different element. there have been several international efforts by different groups of countries that have tried to be helpful and support president guaido, and support the democratic transition in venezuela, and not only the lima group, but then after that, you had the international contact group. you have the multivideo mechanism and others that are trying to be helpful in dealing with the situation in venezuela.
in different ways have tried to apply pressure in some different ways. leverage their relations with venezuela in order to help the transition in that country. what i think -- what i think -- to answer your question with this. what i think makes the use of tr different is -- and this is a very short answer. because it's -- as ambassador brownfield mentioned, this is a legal framework, which means the decision taken by the state parties mandatory to all of those who are party to the treaty. and now we have a very important set of two decisions, two resolutions adopted in the last six months which have put into place very effective and coordinated measures to sanction figures associated with the regime. i agree with ambassador
brownfield, they should be extremely worried about the weight of our action in this regard. >> great. thank you. ambassador brownfield, you mentioned you're knot an expert on the real treaty, as probably 98% of this room. >> the honest 98%. >> i'm going to briefly put into context a couple of relevant articles that i think apply to what we're discussing here on venezuela, right? and i'm going to allow myself to read them out loud. just bear with me because the language is -- as the tools, the language is a little bit updated now. article vi, ambassador, correct me if i'm wrong here, but i believe the meeting in december of 2019 was on the basis of article vi, right? and that's why member countries agreed to pursue sanctions in venezuela. article vi of the rio treaty says, if the integrity of the territory or the sovereignty or
political independence of any american state, not in the u.s., but any american nation in the continent, should be affected by an aggression, which is continental or intercontinental conflict or by any other fact or situation might endanger the peace of america. then the organ of consultation shall meet and discuss what measures should be taken to maintain peace and security in the region, right? i believe that article applies directly to venezuela. we've seen a lot of -- 5.3 million refugees coming out of venezuela which is affecting colombia, brazil, peru, ecuador in a way that non-state actors are increasing the insecurity of the region. there is a lot of narc oo, illel
trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal mining. the illegal mining is creating devastation in the amazon. so i think it's reasonable to argue that it's affecting the peace of the region. that article vi and where member countries agreed to move forward. however, this is coming to you, ambassador brownfield, so be ready. article viii is also crucial and, again, bear with me. for the purpose of this treaty, the measures in which the origin of consultation will agree with comprise one or more of the falling. recall objectives of diplomat mission. breaking of international relations. breaking of consular relations. four, partial or complete interruption of economic relations or of rail, sea, air, post, telegraphic, telephonic
and availability telecommunications and all these fads and says use of force. so, as ambassador simmons said, the use of arms force is at least not on the table in the member countries, but there are a lot of other things that are on the table that aren't being discussed that are part of the article viii. which of thesed tools, ambassador brownfield, do you think would be effective to help keeping venezuela from addressing the threat now of the peace of the region? >> yep. i mean, in my opinion, the beauty, the charm of the rio treaty is that it is both an ample and yet a flexible document that allows the state's party to the treaty to determine which parts of the treaty they choose to apply or enforce.
when they will apply or enforce them. and even permits them to change their mind as the situation on the ground changes over time. the importance of the rio treaty, as we have all stated, you could almost said ad nauseam now, is that it is a legal document and a legal structure. that said, it is not a straight jacket. it does not say once we have invoke the rio treaty we all must do every single element that is in the treaty. i mean, the drafters of the treaty 75 years ago, i think, were wise enough to indicate these are possibilities or options that are permitted or could be implemented under the terms, but it is this state's parties and their representatives, their leaders,
their governments that make that determination. you know as well as i do, you more than anyone else in this room, moses, know that i would be comfortable applying a great number of the authorities that are permitted in the rio treaty. however, since i am not an idiot, i also realize that there are many many people in this hemisphere, probably at this stage a majority, that believe the -- some of the authorities that could be mencpotentially applied are not yet ripe for consideration and certainly not ripe for application. that is fine. in my opinion, message for mr. maduro and hi government, the measure for the other international organizations in the world, the message for governments that are playing as far as this hemisphere is concerned an unhelpful role in
venezuela is the following. the rio treaty is now in play. you might want to read it if you want to see what options are available to the governments of this hemisphere should we ever reach the point where we feel we must apply those options. that would be my answer to the question. >> thank you. okay. ambassador, i want to make sure we have time for q & a. i promise you we will have about 25 minutes for q & a for you, so just be patient. ambassador toure, one of the things i like about this rio treaty is that it addresses not only a political crisis, right? it addresses a crisis that is affecting the stability and the peace of the region, which is the case of venezuela. that's very important to understand. i mean, some of your -- some of
our friends mention this all the time, to get the right solution, sometimes you have to have the right diagnostic first. part of the diagnostic is this is a state that is controlled by organized crime and criminal activities, and therefore, any solution that needs to address those issues first, right? and that's where i like the rio treaty because it's a mechanism that a multilateral legal mechanism to address not a political but a security matter. ambassador brownfield said is that humanitarian aid should be a priority, right? i mean, we have people dying and suffering just because of lack of food and medicine. ambassador torre, how do you see applying the real treaty in implementing some sort of humanitarian response to this -- to this crisis and how -- how that will affect now that peace and the security moving forward? >> yes.
i agree with ambassador brownfield that the treaties open to very large choices of possible -- of action. and as moses read in the text of article vi, the main part of this article is the danger to the peace. the peace in the west and in the america. that's a very wide field for an applicationist treaty. possibility, some of them are name and as a consequence of the times. true your phonics communication doesn't exist anymore, but it's there and it's communication.
the idea of diplomatic representation has to be seen very carefully, because the existence of falling empathies in caracas is absolutely necessary for the people who support juan guaido. we have refugees in caracas that if he's embassies were closed, should be now in prison, in jail. therefore, we have to read the treaty with -- in a very smart way. i think it's possible. and moses in this question opens another way, which is very interesting. which is we have an italian crisis, but venezuelan people are starving. there is a lack of medicines. there are a lot of possibilities of helping the venezuelan people, but the maduro regime
doesn't allow this aid to come kin side venezuela. how to push the food and medicine inside venezuela? there are ways. the possibility of no-fly zone. that's the use of military forces, but the use of a non -- an unconventional use of military forces that they have to think about. we have to think about this kind of solution. and i think that the most important this time is to be open of consideration all she's solutions in syria. there has been a use of force in order to give food and medicine to sick people, to starving people. and that has not been, in my opinion, discussed at length among the state party of the treaty.
i am partially open to this solution. there may be many more because i am a lawyer and i think that the very old lawyers work very, very good. the people who worked the street were very, very smart. it's a novel. the tragedy of our time is that we don't have treaties like this one and we see a lot of legal texts to have a lot of holes and a lot of interpretations, misinterpretations. the rio treaty is very, very well-written and it's -- it opens a lot of possibilities inside the legal frame that is established by the treaty. >> do we have a date for the next meeting? >> yes. >> when it's going to happen?
>> yes. around march 20th of this. >> march 20? >> two months. >> in washington. >> in washington? is that the same date -- i'm sorry, is that the same date for the new election of schedule at oas. we're going to be here. >> okay. that makes sense for all of us. any remarks before we hope it up to the floor? >> thank you. well, this been a very interesting discussion on russia and i really enjoy the opportunity to spend with you. first on article viii state parties to the pretty, have not preclud precluded -- we have to be careful in the way
the treaty has operated in the last two meetings. five or six countries or state parties to the country have agreed to participate if they were given some sort of assurance or reassurance that the use of force would not be able table. any resolution in the treaty to be taupted needs 13 votes. so i want you to take that and be bear that in mind when there are a number of countries that support adopting concern measures. we need to reach that threshold of support those. that we have done in the last two meetings. if you look at the recent meeting in december, travel ban to kill 29 figures associated with another regime. that specific regime had 13
votes. we are very treading cary among the members of the treaty that they support a certain line of action. i agree with ambassador brownfield that the beauty is that other measures are available, but we also need to look at the fact that we need those in order to adopt any other measure. so that's what we are doing. we are taking a step by step, approving first that that the treaty is useful, provides us some leverage in terms of opposing nicolas mad roe. at the same time, we have to be pragmatic working inside here. secondly, when i raised the initiative on the migration problem out of venezuela, it was never in my mind to imply that we see venezuelans coming to our country as a threat to our country. that is not entirely the case. what i was saying is that we
have to look at the root causes inside venezuela. why are these people, this enormous aploumount of people mg out of venezuela. a friend who heads a working task for us in the oas and magnet crisis can provide us with some additional thoughts on this one. but in no way has ever looked at this situation and trying to drive the migration program. we need to see people moving out of venezuela. colombia has been extremely dangerous. they have almost 2 million venezuelans riving in the country. brazil is a rough balance. you can see it's enormously important for colombia to address this issue. so i think that moving forward we need to continue billing the alliance around the idea that we
have to apply additional pressure, and i think we will be able to do so, but we can never look at the last of the measures of hillary and article viii, even with the no-fly zone, i think we need to work quickly on, first of all, most, that the treaty provides us a way to apply political and effective measure against the regime. >> thank you, ambassador. ambassador brownfield, any last comments before we upend? >> nope. i'm actually quite comfortable with where we have come out here. >> okay. >> and the description you've heard is that it is a legal document. there is some flexibility within that document. and the simple human law of logic suggests the rio treaty can be applied only so far as the state's are willing to apply it. that means you must have some
degree of consensus in terms of which part of the treaty and the sequencing that will occur. ambassador shamus said it perfectly in simple mathematical terms, 13. if you can't get to 13, you're not going to apply terms of the rio treaty. >> just to clarify, ambassador, we have 13 countries, i understand 16 of them plooved the september resolution. that resolution excluded uruguay, trinidad and tobago and cuba. these three countries are 19, which is the total of the member countries. who out of those 16 didn't vote on the december resolution? just to keep my mind what currents are now dropping from this. >> panama? >> dominican republic and --
>> argentina. >> no, no. >>. [ inaudible ] >> trinidad was absent. >> train and tone to be was absent. we have to -- since you wanted krart. i'm those countries that have decided to abstrain this time have issues with the legal application of the measures inside the national legal systems. >> oh, interesting. >> so they were very careful. panama even added a footnote to the resolution to explain why they have decided to abstain. nevertheless, they continue to be siding with us in terms of using to the treaty to apply pressure on venezuela, but they have problems of how this would impact the legal systems. and you can imagine why. >> interesting.
that's a good clarification. especially on sanctions, too. i'm aware of many countries in the region has different legal barriers when it comes to applying sanctions on venezuela. so it's good to be mindful of that. okay. thank you all. i just need your name, affiliation and, remember, the question always ends with the question mark. go straight to the question. i'm sure we're going to have enough time to cover many of your questions. i see a hand in the middle there. i see one here, too. let's do two at this time. >> okay. it's very clear that the u.s. has been a driving force trying to find out a solution to the venezuelan crisis. on the other hand, latin america is being more cautious. i would like to know what would be the middle point or the
comfort zone for both sides. more than that, what would be the lessons to learn because today the venezuela crisis, but ho hopefully not, but what will happen if something similar or worse happened in the region? what will be the regional response to that? thank you. >> we have one here. >> thank you so much, ambassadors. i'm a member of youth and democracy in americas and the organization funded by students. so my question is for the three ambassadors. what will be enough proof from the regime that the real treaty could be enough to send military intervention and why won't be enough or not a time, a correct time, to send the force by now?
i know you already answered most of my questions that i had, i'm really grateful for, but i would like to know what would be the mistake of sending force through united nations or the real treaty at this time right now? >> thank you. time for the question. we have two questions. we have three speakers, so feel free to jump in in either one. >> okay. with your permission. >> since you're ambassador. we >> well, for me as a venezuelan ambassador, it's a very big problem. people in venezuela, people who are suffering a tragic situation used to see -- that's one of the misconceptions, first
intervention. that carries a solution. that carries -- decide to use force. very simple. drums. as ambassador also said, you need the approval of 13 countries. when we started to talk about the ambassador, in order to discuss, we had four or five people who were absolutely agree, who agree absolutely with this idea. the majority was very reluctant. and we start to talk and talk and talk and talk. and we arrive to 16 votes. and five countries.
very, very against the use of force. and you need the five countries. that's the problem that most people doesn't understand. and people, a lot of people, talk to me, write to me, say, what are you doing? you're not doing your job. why -- the international -- multination multinational. if you have a more convincing power, the problem should have been resolved months ago, but you see now, which is -- the obstacles we have in front and t it is not so simple. you're asking people to send troops to venezuela. it's very easy to say that, but think of the possibility of you are the president of a country and they're asking you to send
your boys to eventually die, or maybe dying in venezuela, and that's not an easy decision. that's -- in this way of thinking, their lives at risk but to have an economic cost, an invasion, is not a very easy way of acting for a country. and there is another thing for important is what is idea of the maduro regime for every country? it's not the same. we here spoke about maduro in the same way, but if we had invited here all the ambassadors, 34 ambassadors in the oas, we would have heard people saying, well, it's not a very efficient government. they have problem, but has been
elected, an election that some people recognize but other people don't recognize. and they have problem but the problem is every country has problem and the only way is to wait for next election and if you say that the election of 2018 was a fraud, they say, well, but we have the possibility of waiting to -- four year more in order to do another election and to try to have a fair and just election is still open and you see why this is not, absolutely not easy to have the support. i spoke of 34 members of the oas. the members, less of that, but we need 13 votes. and the discussion is very easy. there are not 13 votes. right now, and we are very far from that, in order to start a
military intervention. >> all right. any other reaction? we have a question about what's the middle ground between the u.s. and regional positions in venezuela. >> i mean, let me offer two or three points. first, and i insist upon this, ladies and gentlemen, the year is 2020. it is not 1920. when one talks about military options in 2020, one must not look at the problem set as though it is 1920. i do not believe anyone, at least anyone who is sane, who is capable of thinking and reasoning, is suggesting that an international military force should land upon the beaches of micatia and begin to march up the highway to caracas. i have heard no one make such a suggestion. i have heard people suggest that if the humanitarian situation, if the number of refugees, if
the complete and utter breakdown of social order in venezuela reaches a state where -- where truly there is risk of millions of people dying, that then we should -- we should open the door to consider other options. but no one is suggesting the 1920 option that i am aware of, which gets me to the questions that -- the suggestion, one, of what would be the conditions or the second question, which i'm going to relate to it, which is really the first one, what is the difference between innocence, the u.s. approach, and the approach of governments and nations in -- elsewhere in latin america. watch two figures, ladies and gentlemen. and i'm going to be fairly brutal about this. and i apologize because the one
venezuela who is sitting here -- well, there are two of you, i suppose, i apologize to both of you because -- because the figures are -- and the worst days of the -- the united states civil war, what lincoln called the terrible arithmetic, which is to say, how many people must die before finally the other side agrees that -- that we should -- we should stop this conflict? and if you apply the terrible arithmetic to venezuela, on the part of the western hemisphere's governments, it is how many people are going to be dying inside of venezuela from malnutrition and starvation, from lack of medicine, from lack of housing, electricity, running water, at what level does that reach a point where the western hemisphere says, we simply cannot tolerate this in our hemisphere any longer? and at that point, what are the
options available? the second number out there is how many refugees? now, it's connected, obviously, to the first number, but what is that number? we're now somewhere between 5 million and 6 million. the overwhelming majority are in the western hemisphere. is 10 million a number that we finally say, enough is enough? is it 15 million? one-half of the population? at some point, that will have an impact. it will have -- it will be felt most immediately by the neighboring countries, of course, one of whom is represented here on the panel with me. the other is not, but i bet there's a colombian somewhere here in this audience who are the first that will have to address the issue of their own citizens saying we have reached a point where we cannot absorb more without some form of international response.
watch those two numbers. that would be, in my opinion, what would bring the u.s. position, which, by the way, i'm not certain is that different, from that of many latin-american nations, but the other regional nations together at some common middle ground. and that, in turn, would be, in my opinion, what would get people to say, okay, we're not talking about an invasion, but is there something that can be done that has a military component? excuse me. to it that would address in some way the humanitarian crisis of venezuela. that would be my response. i'm sorry i went on so long. i'm finished now. >> i mean, this raises a question, ambassador, i'm sorry, about how when we pass that threshold with all these numbers that we're seeing of refugees, in terms of people dying, i mean, they're not official numbers, obviously, but we've seen a lot of children having a lot of malnutrition issues, but
i'm going to leave that question on the table. i want to hear from ambassador seamas, any reactions so far? >> when we hear ambassador brown talk about the terrible t-- wha is it? >> the terrible arithmetic, what lincoln used to call it. >> of course, it's difficult and painful for all of us discussing numbers in such a cold way, you know, what is the number, what is the number of migrants and refugees we are able to support before something else needs to be done, you know? that's why i tried to look at this issue from another position, other angle, how much are we able to support inside of ven venezuela, regime attacking its people, violating human right and basically being the cause for expanding these large numbers of people. we continue to have an open-door policy toward migrant ans and
refugees and nothing recently i have seen that would change the way we address this question. of course, the pressure is increasing for colombia, in particular, but i guess -- i guess we will not change that one bit, you know. i think the problem resides inside the regime. and we have to attack the regime in order to get things changing. now, you raised the point -- raised the point which is a legitimate one, i understand your question. however, we are still bound by the fact that we need to build these coalition support for other measures other than the ones that have been adopted so far. but i entirely support the view that we have not precluded resorting to other measures which are allowed under the treaty. that's why we're convening the foreign ministers every three month in order to consider this situation in venezuela. we've had one in september, one
in december. we're going to have the next one in march. i think we'll continue to look at this question under the premise of the urgency. >> yeah. >> that it raises. >> thank you, ambassador. just another connection here with another international treaty, ambassador, that we have discussed before at csis, is that application of r2p. this raises the question, if those numbers are, you know, meets the urgency that requires a different response, how is the r2p applies to the responsibility to protect? if you read the treaty, there are four different requirements that have to be met before the international community, including the u.n. national security -- the u.n. security council, so that raises the question about the role of r2p which i know the secretary has led an international movement to
discuss the application of vene. we have time for one more round. this time i'll take three questions. if there are three questions in the forum. i see one hand here. i see one here. i see another hand on there in the back. >> hi. my name is kate and i'm with facebook here in d.c. my question is for any one of you. basically, i wanted to know the ways in which you would try to entice former members of the rio treaty who big economic powers like mexico who were former cigcig cigny tosignatories of the trea but no longer are, how would you entice them especially now in the fight against the maduro regime in venezuela? thank you. >> thanks for the can question. we have one here. pass the microphone in front of you. thank you. >> i'm oasvenezuela,
migration refugee crisis. this is a very good forum. congratulations, csis. ambassador, thank you. shared many times on the refugee crisis, i have to share with you already officially 5 million venezuelan refugees, and i think one important declaration that has to be worked is the -- implement and have to congratulate with that. the declaration says that a person is a refugee when flees a country because of general violence, human rights violation, a public alteration, and a foreign occupancy. foreign intervention. all of them right now applies
for any venezuelan that is fleeing the country, specifically the last one, when maduro recognized just 24 hours there are at least 23,000 cubans in venezuela. so when i say this, it's not only because it benefits refugees to give them permanent protection, but probably the only way that we have right now in international community to recognize venezuela, so there is a conflict that has been created not only by a conventional dictatorship but a criminal state because 5 million people that have fled is only behind syria. so, i just wanted to add that and a specific question to ambassador simas. have you been affected recently for the -- on the border or any part of brazil because of the illegal mining that has been increasing through not only the
armed forces but regular groups and those regular groups, has brazil been affected also by the presence of eln at the maduro state? thank you very much. >> thank you for the question. we have one more in the back. thank you. >> hello. my name is daniel chang. i'm a usf student. i'm just here interning, usf, and the u.s. house of representatives. so my question is that many of you said, ambassador brown, ambassador simas, that the treaty is ay binding document and one is the main advantages of it. however, what happens when one of the signatory countries decide to have a political change of mind and not apply the resolutions that have been declared by the treaty, for
example? you used this specific example, in a resolution, rodriguez was included among the chapel ban. however, a week later there was a change of government in argentina and rodriguez was -- how does that alter the integrity of the treaty, and what should we do? >> good question. thank you. all righty. we have three important questions to address. i think, ambassador, we're going to end with you. let's go to the illegal mining question. ambassador simas, how the illegal mining is affecting brazil, and if you can address those questions in two, three, minutes each, that would be great. >> yeah. well, i know -- thank you, david. i know david has been looking into this question. of course, all of the come po d compounding effect of illegal activities on our border is a source of concern, obviously. and illegal mining is one of
them. affects populations. affects public health. it's a source of concern. i wanted to address also the other question in the back, i'm sorry, i didn't get your name, but thank you for the question. the fact -- the fact that the treaty, all of the decisions are mandatory except for the ones that involve the use of force. that is part -- up one of the provisions in the treaty, so, but other than that, the decisions that are adopted need to be enforced by a legal obligation of state partners to enforce. i do not want to hear, dwell into the reasons why rodriguez was welcomed as head of the delegation. not really up to me to answer. it's really for argentina. i think the fact that we adopted a travel ban is important and
even in argentinargentina, amba if i'm not mistaken, the new argenti argentinean government denied officials to the appointee of the regime. it's important now that argentina is abiding by the decision we took on the designated individuals in the resolution. and the -- to complete your question, you see, in order to deal with the migrant situation in brazil, because also the scale of the migration to brazil, which is much less than colombia, we were able to put together an operation and i strongly recommend that you read very recent report which is available on the web page, on the oas, that deals with the way brazil has answered to the
question of migrants and refugees involving our territory. we've been able to put together an operation involving organizations like the united nations high commission for refugees and the international organization for migration. we have had support from bilateral countries including the united states and we were able to put in operation a system that allows these venezuelans to arrive in brazil with dignity and they have been documented very, very quickly. we have applied the declaration. so we have in a way venezuelaens coming to brazil have at least two or three different options in which they can decide to stay in brazil, work in brazil, and have access to health and education services in brazil. all of these aspects are reflected in the report which i recommend to your attention.
>> thank you, ambassador. okay. we have two minutes for each ambassadors. i'm going to start you then end with you, ambassador. >> okay. two quick points if i could make to the first and the last of the three questions we took. the first is what additional steps could be taken with some of the larger and yet more skeptical nations on application of the tr, the rio treaty, and i believe the two examples that you offered up were mexico and argentina. and i'll offer you a diplomats response to that. and i would say, there are ways, most of them done in private consultation, sometimes public messaging, to have dialogue among governments and nation states. one way is to appeal to humanitarian instincts. i mean, the point that in a
sense we're making today is that this is not necessarily political, ideological, or philosophical issue. this is an issue of tens of millions of human beings who are suffering from malnutrition, bordering upon starvation in places and complete and utter lack of public health. does this -- is this not a route into reconsideration? a second more fundamental issue is as a result of those humanitarian -- that humanitarian crisis, tens of thousands, potentially hundreds of thousands of more refugees will arrive in your countries, themselve themselves. to what extent do you believe that this constitutes a political -- an internal political issue for you? and third and finally, this is the diplomat, the former diplomat in me speaking, one has
to try to understand what are the concerns of the government that is not participating at this point in time? now, some of them may be fundamental and you're simply not going to be able to address those. but others may be matters of language. if we say it in a different way. if we -- if we add an element to whatever the decision is, would this be enough to bring at least some -- your government in to some aspects of application of the rio treaty? this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we pay huge sums of money, i can say that now because i no longer am receiving any of it, to professional diplomats in the hee hemisphere to try to find ways to meet a common position. and finally, the last question, i'm going to be very quick on this one, what do we do about governments that have, in fact,
endorsed or in a sense voted for application of certain aspects of tr but then choose not to enforce them? this is not the first time in human history, ladies and gentlemen, in which this has occurred. we when it occurs, you have public and private dialogue. you also have to accept that governments, including my own, which i no longer work for but i receive a miserable pension from, who will at times pick and choose those obligations that it will, in fact, accept and enforce. at the end of the day, there's a certain amount of moral persuasion and to a certain extent naming and shaming if a government has, in fact, endorsed and accepted a certain obligation, international obligation, and then not complied with it, that at least should be drawn to the attention of the world at large. and with that, i stop so i would hear what i'd much rather hear, that's ambassador tari offering
much better and more expert positions. >> that is a compliment. this part of the discussion reflects the complexity of the problem. not only the legal complexity but the political complexity and the changes that are operating in the political situation. first of all, two of the biggest, most important country of the continent, canada and mexico, aren't a part of the treaty. then government changes. argentina vote in favor of the last of the two resolutions, but the last vote was three day before the change of government in bane nas aires. that reflects the difficulty of applying a treaty that one country votes just before leaving the, one enters, and
legally linked by the treaty. but doesn't apply. hugo rodriguez to enter in argentina. but we have the change -- there are a lot of changes. announces that it was retiring. announce the treaty. changing. we're going to have a new president in uruguay and i'm unsure what the president is going to do. and there is a new government in bolivia. and that may change. ecuador, who is not member of the tr, has not the position that it had in the time of
korea. that may add a new complexity, but as ambassador brown say, there is no way to enforce what the treaty commands, but there is a moral obligation. there is a legal obligation. and diplomacy has a lot of ways in order to -- to deal with this kind of limitation and this kind of problem. is it absolutely no easy, but it's all we have. >> this has been a fascinating conversation. thank you so much, ambassadors. thank you all for coming. thank you to the americas program for putting this together. thank you.
on saturday, 2020 democratic presidential candidates will be speaking at the new hampshire democratic party's 61st annual mcintyre-shaheen 100 club event three days ahead of new hampshire's first in the nation primary. live coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. 75 years ago this month the united nations, great britain and the soviet union met to discuss a post-world war ii germany and a liberated europe. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern on "american history tv's" "reel america" the 1945 documentary of that meeting, t"the yalta
conference." >> i come from the crimea conference with a firm belief that we've made a good start on the road to a world of peace. never before have the major allies been more closely united, not only in their war aims but also in their peace aims. >> and at 4:30 on "oral histories" we'll talk to medal of honor recipient herschel woody williams, his experiences as a marine on' w iwo jima. >> marines around me raised their weapons into the air, screaming and yelling and that kind of stuff. i really thought everybody lost their mind there for a second. i couldn't find out what was going on. then i caught on what was going on because they were looking and there i look and there's old glory on top of mt. sarabachi.
>> this weekend explore our nation's past on "american history tv" on c-span there. monday, president trump holds a rally in manchester, new hampshire, the day before the sa state's primary. live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. stuchts across the country told us the most important issues for the presidential candidates to address. climate change. gun violence. teen vaping. college affordability. mental health. and immigration. we're awarding $100,000 in total cash prizes. the winners for this year's student cam competition will be announced on march 11th. this weekend on "book tv," discussions on race, gender, and class. on sunday at 6:30 p.m. eastern,
author charles murray talks about his book, "human diversity." >> for almost a century now the social -- has been in a grip of an orthodoxy scared stiff of biology. at the moment it takes the form of three widely and loudly proclaimed truths. gender is a social construct. race is a social construct. class is a function of privilege. then at 9:00 p.m. eastern on "after words," espn.com senior writer howard bryant on sports and race in america. he's interviewed by author and former nba player etan thomas. >> whether dealing with the police, whether dealing with schools, whether dealing with your work ethic, whether dealing with whatever it is, you're looking at other people. by other people, i mean your white counterparts, being able to do things that you can't do because there's two sets of rules. >> i notice that my white counterparts never questioned their own competence. they assume that they belong.
they always assume that they belong, and yet when you begin to look at the actual raw numbers of who gets hired and who doesn't, and we're talking about this obviously in sports over the nfl coaching, how frustrating, it's almost like a full dissidence moment that nfl coaches are having right now, they're recognizing that no matter how much time we put in and how much experience we have, they don't want us. >> watch authors charles murray and howard bryant this weekend on "book tv" on c-span2. john sopko, the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, testified before house oversight subcommittee regarding the trump administration's strategy in afghanistan. this hearing is about 45 minutes.
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