Following an investigation by The Canary, the Venezuelan government has formally called on the UK to “abandon Washington’s coup-mongering plans and any destabilizing initiative”.
Venezuela Reconstruction Unit
On 13 May, The Canary revealed the existence of a specialist unit within the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) dedicated to the ‘reconstruction’ of Venezuela. Files obtained under the Freedom of Information Act also revealed private discussions between Venezuelan opposition figures and UK officials. The discussions detail proposals for the promotion of British business after a planned coup.
The existence of the “Venezuela Reconstruction Unit” had never been publicly acknowledged by either the FCO or senior diplomat John Saville, who heads the unit. Saville was formerly UK ambassador to Venezuela (2014-2017).
“Abandon Washington’s coup-mongering plans”
On 15 May, and in response to this investigation, Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza summoned the UK representative in Venezuela to offer an explanation.
Arreaza wrote that he:
convened the Chargé d’affaires of the United Kingdom [Duncan Hill] to present him with a formal protest and demand an explanation for the creation in their foreign ministry of a Venezuela Reconstruction Unit.
We convened the Chargé d'affaires of the United Kingdom to present him with a formal protest and demand an explanation for the creation in their foreign ministry of a Venezuela Reconstruction Unit. Duncan Hill confirmed this absurdity and tried to justify the unjustifiable. pic.twitter.com/kLYF8RHIg7
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) May 15, 2020
The foreign minister continued that:
Duncan Hill confirmed this absurdity and tried to justify the unjustifiable.
We demand that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland abandon Washington’s coup-mongering plans and any destabilizing initiative. We demand respect for our sovereignty, our people and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations Samuel Moncada also denounced the UK government’s complicity in destabilising his government.
The British government is looking for business advantages once [US president Donald] Trump imposes his colonial regime in Venezuela.
A spokesperson for the FCO told The Canary:
Part of an Ambassador’s role is to engage with the governments of their host country. We will not give a running commentary on individual conversations.
Featured image via screengrab/RTUK
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