Ross Brown/The Santiago Times Staff
NEW YORK – Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera, in his speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations, has said his government is willing to help Venezuelans and all citizens who wish to enter their country, as long as they respect the laws.
“We want to welcome all those who come to Chile to start a new life, and respect our laws. But also and with the same strength and conviction we want to put our house in order and stop the entry of those who do it illegally, those who do not respect our laws or who come to commit crimes, “said the president in New York.
He assured that Venezuela is governed by a regime that has silenced the voice of its citizens. In his opinion, the government of President Nicolás Maduro does not respect the principles of freedom, nor human rights.
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— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) September 27, 2018
“Venezuela is governed by a regime that does not respect any of its principles or freedom, nor democracy nor human rights and is a society ravaged by a moral, political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis,” said Piñera.
He stressed that the crisis in the country is the cause of the government by not opening the doors to humanitarian aid that several countries want to offer, including Chile.
“Many are literally losing their lives for lack of food and medicine and President Maduro denying this situation does not open the doors to the humanitarian aid that many countries are willing to give,” said the Chilean president.
He assured that Chile will continue to help the country through whatever is within its reach and by following international law to help the Venezuelan nation recover its freedom and democracy and to get out of the current situation in the country.
“How can a president be so ambitious, so insensitive that he is willing to cause that degree of pain and suffering to his own contal people to cling to power? Chile will continue to do what it can within international law to help the Venezuelan people regain their freedom, their democracy and respect for human rights and get out of this sad and tragic tragedy that affects that country,” Piñera affirmed.
The president’s speech followed an unprecedented effort for justice by six governments who have requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open an investigation in Venezuela for crimes against humanity.
The governments of five South American nations – Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia – and Canada referred the situation in Venezuela to the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, for investigation on Wednesday. This is the first time that ICC member governments have sought an investigation of potential crimes that took place entirely on the territory of another country.
They presented their request at the UN General Assembly in New York as Nicolas Maduro was on his way to the gathering, where concern has been voiced over his repressive leadership and the related economic and humanitarian crisis, including the outpouring of Venezuelan refugees into neighboring countries.
The filing nations called upon the ICC to investigate alleged torture, rape, murder, violations of due process and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Maduro’s government since February 2014.
In their seven-page letter, the nations referred to reports by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and international lawyers documenting the suspected crimes.
The political crisis in Venezuela has exacerbated an already feeble economy and sent more than 2 million of Venezuelans fleeing into neighboring countries, with 1 million landing in Colombia alone.