UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Venezuela for talks with Maduro, Guaido

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Venezuela for talks with Maduro, Guaido

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will arrive in Venezuela today for a three-day visit to meet

michelle bartlet venezuela

Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will arrive in Venezuela today for a three-day visit to meet the two men both claiming to be President of Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido.

Venezuela’s economic crisis has continued to deteriorate under the Maduro regime—year-end projections forecast unemployment at 44%, with the economy as a whole expected to contract by 25% in 2019 alone. These conditions have caused widespread food and medical supply shortages, while Mr Maduro’s crackdown on dissent has led to more than 200 extrajudicial killings and countless arrests amid nationwide protests.

As the socialist president of Chile until 2018, Ms Bachelet has previously shied away from confrontation with the leftist Maduro on political grounds. However, in March, she broke her silence and heavily criticised his regime, asking, “What more is needed before the political leadership put their people’s well-being ahead of their own interests?”

Ms Bachelet will submit a report to the UN Human Rights Council on Venezuela in the next month in response to this week’s trip. As Mr Maduro now appears somewhat more open to international cooperation, an UN-sponsored humanitarian aid package could be in the interest of both sides. If Mr Maduro takes a collaborative tack on humanitarian issues in return for aid, he could accrue greater international support, potentially leading to the lowering of sanctions against his regime. Such an outcome would bolster his political leverage and frustrate the opposition in the long-term.

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