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tv   CSIS Discussion on Venezuela  CSPAN  January 12, 2019 2:33am-4:13am EST

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pres. trump: great promotion for us. [inaudible] .> welcome to csis
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my name is moises rendon. i do not think i have been in a more timely discussion than the one we are going to have right now. the situation in venezuela is critical. what happened yesterday has the potential to shape the country's future and how the international community is going to respond. it will mark the path on whether can escape from its authoritarian rules and transition to democracy. i am very excited to see all of you and to those watching online to see an important panel. the region is overwhelmed with waves of new refugees and migrants. according to the venezuelan constitution, on july 10, it was the start of a new presidential. .
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in 2018 wereheld not free and fair. that is why the international community did not recognize it. i want to show you the map that we just did in csis. about 50 countries of the international community did not recognize the venezuelan presidential election of 2018. this is one of the big reasons we are here. what does this mean for venezuela? community?ernational how should we all think and respond to this crisis? the international response included important economic countries, u.s., germany, france. not recognizing maduro's
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presidency. that is why these types of discussions are critical to have. ,n the face of such uncertainty we have some of the most important minds when it comes to venezuelan policy. we are honored to have them. most of you know ambassador br ownfield. he was an ambassador to chile, colombia, venezuela. his responsibilities included to policy training and assistance in afghanistan and iraq, mexico, andforts in maritime law enforcement on the south china sea. he is also a senior advisor to csis.
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he is a non-compensated senior advisor. [laughter] we are honored to have him in the csis family. thank you for being here. we also have a policy maker here in washington. he previously served as senior advisor to the national security advisor general mcmaster. he joined the u.s. government as presidential management fellow. he worked on president obama's team in the white house and later served as a special advisor for president obama's trip to cuba. he has worked in two different administrations. thank you for being here. we are delighted to have you as well.
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we are going to focus on three things. right now we are going to focus on what happened yesterday, why are we here discussing maduro's lack of legitimacy? then we will talk about the international community's response. we will assess the lima g roup's declaration. we be talkingll about the diplomatic, legal, and political implications moving forward. what happened yesterday has important legal implications moving forward. what are those applications? what are the most important? where should we be thinking when responding to these? finally, we will open it up to q&a.audience for a
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i appreciate your patience to wait for that section. .ith no further ado ambassador, thank you again for being here with us. like we mentioned, this is a critical time. many of the eyes and ears of the international community are watching us. tell us what happened yesterday. what is your assessment? will start by apologizing to anyone who feels that, dressed in this throwback 1930's elliott ness and the untouchable suit, suggests that i must be 100 years old. i acknowledgment is the warmest suits that i have. and since i actually walked here this morning down from wisconsin
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avenue, my apology is only for the appearance, not for the fact that i am wearing this. oises, if i could offer one man's opinion, and we will get a better opinion once i finish to the distinguished person to my right, i would suggest that the issue here is fundamentally the legitimacy of the government that self inaugurated itself for a second term yesterday and caracas in the supreme court building. word you have set the legal two or three times in your introduction, let me try to address that issue remain legal perspective. we are not located in venezuela so we are not particularly a domestic reputation. we are part of the international community that is commenting on venezuela.
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what does international customary law say about the legitimacy of government? if you pull out your international law textbooks, you will find there are two bases by say thatally one can the national government is illegitimate. one is the means by which it comes to power. to a certain extent, you could say this is the pinochet model. i do not pute, myself completely in that category, who say that pinochet did a fairly good job while exercising the presidency of chile for 16 years. i do not put myself in that category. but if you are in that category, you have to acknowledge that the gentleman took power and arrived
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in office through illegitimate means. if you take a look based on that standard, at venezuela, you will see at best a questionable election and process in may of 2018. that the national assembly, the constitutionally elected national assembly, the clarity that election null and void. you will find that the supreme which actually was more or less appointed constitutionally as opposed to the current body that asserts that they are the supreme court, that supreme court's not only determines that the election was null and void but part maduro from assuming office. , more thanat the map 50 governments, in fact, i was
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having coffee with a gentleman who works for the washington post, who i will not further name, and we were both off the record. he said it was about 70 governments. as many as 70 governments have determined that the elections were illegitimate and rejected their results. finally, amongst international organizations, in some way or , the europeanas union, the group is seven, and the group of 20, and the group of lima have all rejected those results. have we passed the threshold of the first test? which is to say that maduro came to office under illegitimate circumstances? i would argue that we have. international law says there is a second way that the government
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can be declared illegitimate. and this is, and are much more confident, this is the hoefler hitler model. to powerho comes through democratic or constitutional means, which most historians agree he did when the election for the chancellery in 1933, but then subsequently ask and an extraconstitutional, nondemocratic matter. test?aduro meet that 10 years of look at public reporting on human rights violations, corruption, taking steps to suppress democracy, of illicit criminal organized activity through all parts of resulting int sanctions not just from my own beloved government but other
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institutions and countries around the world. itlerthis past the h test? i would argue that it does. standards,f the two established by international law to determine the legitimacy of a inereign government, arrived office by illegitimate means or behaved in an is legitimate arriving in office, i would suggest that the maduro government meets both of those tests. >> thank you. fernando, let's get your thoughts on what happened on july 10. >> absolutely. i want to thank you for putting this on and csis for having us.
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ambassador, it is an honor to be with you here on stage. i have a few more years of experience than you, but you will get there one day. [laughter] it is real fun to be here. thank you all for coming and constantly supporting this very important cause. 2016 iswhat started in how we got to yesterday. there is a lot more you could go back. you could argue that it started earlier. but let's just start a 2016. there was a recall referendum that was being put on by the opposition. a lot of the opposition was scrambling to figure out how to deal with maduro. he was that popular and the economy was going down. things were starting to hit a wall. before realizing it was time for change. the opposition pulls the plug and starts to gather this recall
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referendum. up to that point, was maduro democratically elected? i believe so. love him or hate him, for the most part, he was a legitimate democratic leader. but that is where things changed. the referendum never went forward. maduro repeatedly got in its way. his supreme court, which is nothing but a joke at this point, repeatedly got in the way to the point where the completely shut it down. to me, that was a critical point of defining where is it that he went from being a legitimate democratic leader to no longer being legitimate. tothe point where you cease respect the institutions of , even if you have been elected at first, you are no
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longer a legitimate democratic leader. but then it got worse in 2017. the opposition got rallied up. the people of venezuela started to say this is not a democracy. the humanitarian position is getting terrible on the ground. protest start in the summer of 2017. maduro doubled down. pulls an assad and starts shooting people. then you get to the referendums in july 2017. very interesting referendums. two that were a week apart. the opposition says come out and support us and say that you are against maduro and the reforming of the constitution that he wanted to do. and the other put on by maduro. saying support me and say you are in favor of the constitutional reforms. in late july, you have the referendum put on by the opposition that draws 7.2 million people.
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a pretty significant number. the next week we have the referendum put on by maduro. if you believe his numbers, which are unverified, it draws about the same amount of people. but we know his numbers are not true. the opposition allowed for there to be international monitors and maduro did not. ran hisany that election came out publicly and said the numbers had been tampered with. so more people in venezuela were against this than for this. that is basic democracy. maduro and yet, again, ignores the will of the people and democracy and says we will reform the constitution. that is what the people voted for, even though that is not true. that is beyond the step of saying he is a democratically elected leader. that is when he crossed into dictatorship. the next day, the u.s. government came out and declared maduro a dictator.
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that was july 31, 2017. that was a moment when the u.s. showed leadership. peoplenett with soil and had been there and crossed that threshold. the u.s. government does not call someone a dictator lightly. he was only the fourth living head of state that we had little -- labeled a dictator. it was kim jong-un, a sad, and mugabe.assad and that was the club he joined. we were firmly of the believe that he had crossed that special -- threshold. then the illegitimate elections take place. the opposition does not take part because they do not believe it will be fair or honest.
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even if you believe has numbers, which again we know are inflated , 6 million people show up to vote for him in may 2018. nine months earlier the referendum that the opposition put together had 7.2 show up against them. so again, democracy. what are the people want? they do not want maduro. inauguration was the culmination of these moments that have utterly destroyed any semblance of democracy within venezuela. he is a dictator. the international community finally came to terms of that. beyond the u.s. and the venezuelan people. what is frustrating is that, whereas in the summer of 2017 beyond the u.s. and the venezuelanthe venezuelan peoplee rallied up but the international community let them down, now it
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seems like the international community is rallied up but the venezuelan people are nowhere to be found. it is an interesting dynamic. i am sure we will get to that. what happened yesterday was the end of democracy in venezuela. >> that is a helpful catch-up and summary of where we are today. there are so many events going on in venezuela that it is hard to catch up. let's move on to the international community response. that is where i think we can help shape things a little bit. slide where it shows the lima group declaration. it is composed by the most
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important latin american countries like brazil, colombia, chile, peru. the u.s. is closely engaged and in fact they called in when the declaration was being discussed. you can see here the 12 main points where the lima deck delca n announces -- claration was announced. how important is this declaration? where are the gaps? why does it matter? is this enough? are these declarations good enough based on what we are facing in venezuela? it is not just a dictatorship. it is a mock states that is controlling the institutions and repressing the people.
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let's discuss this declaration. ambassador, what do you think of this? if this were a united nations declaration, we would say you reas.12 whe that.s this and whereas slide, which we are not allowed to see yet but i have seen it, there would be the seven therefores that would be calling for additional action. this was a good declaration. i want to say it's quite clearly. fair tough and yet it is in terms of the conclusions that it reaches and the action that it calls for. those amongst us, and i include myself in that number and
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several of you grouchy people that i can see in the audience right now who have some time to of theen mildly critical group of lima in terms of what they have or have not done, have an obligation to egg knowledge that this in fact was a good piece of work. i have now set it. i will go one step further. i believe it demonstrates, and this is my opinion, considerable leadership by the two most important south american thatnments and countries are directly affected and impacted by what is happening in venezuela today. are there to geographic neighbors, the republic of -- thea and the republic federated state of brazil.
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i want to egg knowledge that's leadership as well. ok, if this were the third of january, i would have offered some views as to what i thought the group of lima should do. since i hate having to prepare twice for the same meeting, what i will now do is use my list of what i would have said to you was what we needed eight days ago and compare it to what the that -- first, i would have said that it was imperative to this about the legitimacy of this government, this mafia state. i give them a check on that one. i think they have done a pretty good job of saying clearly the results of the 2018 election were illegitimate. could they have gone further and taken another step?
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yes, maybe, but i will give them a check mark. for having a compass that. would behat it imperative that they recognize the legitimacy and the authority of the still sitting national assembly in terms of being a constitutional body that represents the genuine government of venezuela. i give them a check mark on this one is all. could i have found a better way to say it that would be even clearer? maybe. but it is pretty good. i might have said as the sole legislative body in venezuela, but i am not asking for perfection. third, i would have said to legacy of supreme court of venezuela and recognize
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its rulings. i give them a check minus on this on. good about talking about the integrity and independence of the supreme court. i wish they had gone a step to respectingid call for all countries in the world to honor and follow their rulings. but nevertheless, they are on the check side. number four, i would have said to call for the beginning of international humanitarian assistance now. they also get a check minus on this book for that one. you will see, not here, but if we go to the next slide, you will see that they do eventually call for the government of venezuela to permit international humanitarian assistance.
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i would argue today, the 11th of january, let's stop waiting for the government of maduro to acknowledge a humanitarian crisis and to invite assistance. let's call for it right now. start delivering humanitarian assistance. even if at the end of the day what we get our videos and news broadcasts of trucks filled with the essential food and medicine being turned away at the border. at least it is sending a message and sending a signal. i give them credit for calling for the government to permit it. i would say say could a step further and say to the international community let's start delivering perhaps later on, we will discuss how and when.
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i would have said i hope the group will call for the canceling of diplomatic for officials representing the government of venezuela receive. i don't quite get them to the check on this one. they call for reassessing and reevaluating. that is good, and i understand the code. they also have to knowledge the many of them have a good number of venezuelan commence accredited in the government. two, they have got a good number of their own diplomats which are currently located. they have to be more careful than perhaps we. but my view is that this would have been better if there was a saying it might be time to start sending these boys and girls home. they do not represent a legitimate government.
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sixth, i would have said they should clearly state do not provide the sense to his government representatives are to reside, to have full-time responsibilities. say that this is the time to stop doing that. of course, we'd knowledge the reality. venezuela is a nation of more than 30 million people, although the population is diminishing thanks to lisa parker work by the government, but nevertheless, there is we go to what occurred deal with a nation of that size that does have certain economic outputs that are of interest to the region and the world. nevertheless, a clear signal would have been helpful. it ish, i would have said time to disavow international agreements reached with the government.
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again, i knowledge that there are certain personalities, have what they do not disavow. have been a bit clearer in sending a signal to the international community. stop any further agreements with this government and terminate, cancel, disavow. i wish they would have been clear on that point. would havenally, i told you a weekend one day ago for theis time to call the aspera of venezuela, which i calculate as somewhere in the vicinity of 4 million human they are saying it is
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perhaps 2 million, somewhere between two and 4 million. i wish the group would look upon them as an opportunity. say they call upon them to organize for some way. 4 million human beings who have displaced into 15 or 20 different countries cannot inehow organize themselves terms of managing humanitarian assistance. but for the aspera as refugees as well as that which might be going into the country. to not organize themselves in some way to admit opinions or political offense, to support the effort of the national some that continues to reside inside
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venezuela and a courageous political opposition that is hanging on by its fingernails. but the diaspora has something -- has the ability to do something that those inside venezuela cannot do because it would produce their near and give incarceration the international community the opportunity to push for them to would.e in some just some way. -- in some way. if it does, they get there by would. managing real-world issues for 2-4,000,000 people and growing how to managen venezuelan issues as part of the d aspera -- diaspora. these are the things i would have hoped for from the group a
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little over a week ago. i wish they would have done more on the other four. it was a good declaration, could have been better. >> thank you. fernanda, give your assessment on the lehman group declaration. aboutwatched ask you these two points. number three and number 12. number three says we urge mindoro -- maduro. they came in and did not care about the recommendation. himlehman group also urged to transfer the executive powers to the national assembly, which he has not done and likely will not. so, now what? what should the group do on the
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number three point? and if you want to take on number 12, ambassador, you hit on that. i think it is an important or interactive point. >> to be honest, i was very surprised when i saw it. i did not expect them to actually go that far. i will take part of the responsibility for part of this, certainly. we would praise them quite a bit for existing in the first place we would praise them for saying the smallest things because a few years ago, we never imagined that latin american countries would actually rise and speak out against one of their own. we were just so thrilled when
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they would use rhetoric in a positive direction. we saw that as enough and let that the third but i think things have evolved. it is time for action. to see them have the guts to actually go out and say the right thing and then threatened to back it up. and not for the reasons of what they back it up, what if they don't? that is what really concerns. they have put themselves out on the line. i was in the white house in 2013 when obama went out and did the assad redline. they were now saying as a collective that it is time for him to go. they say that flat out. of course, he was not going to listen to them.
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they say ok, see you. now he has been sworn in and now you have your credibility as this group countries on the line. what are you willing to actually do? of a scary diplomatic moment in my opinion. do you allow them to win and lose your credibility and legitimacy? or do you push back? and if you push back, how do you push back? assuming they are going to push back and assuming they will follow through, and i will give credit to the field of these countries. paraguay, and god bless paraguay. they have done full out, close , i embassy, they are doing think, excellent work showing leadership on this. issa statements regarding tina,
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from chile. you saw statements from argentina, from chile, from peru. nothing from brazil, from columbia. but i have no doubt that those countries will be leading the way. if anything, there is more to come them less. but what i think is critical is that, you know, we follow these statements about the strong, anger statements with action. is just rhetoric, just more of the same, then nothing will change. so what can you do? maduro, and get after his inner circle. i think reevaluating diplomatic status is 100% correct. or whog whether or not you will allow in his 100% correct. you should be airing on the side
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of allowing fewer people. to say that us maybe this person can turn good isn't and negotiate is gone. we have tried every approach we can to get able to turn or to talk to us and it is time for us to assume that the people up there are there by choice. unless they want to prove us otherwise, but the burden for those who are still there, for who are still high ranking of the military, the burden is now 100% on them. time for us giving people the benefit of the doubt and say, well, maybe he will turn, that times past. i think it is time to go after all those people. don't let any of them into your country, don't let any of them into a negotiating room. think the next logical step and the real critical step is to start prosecuting them. prosecute them under your country's laws and then fly to interpol and put them on the red notice list. don't let them out of the
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people your again about the criminal enterprise, the mafia state we're talking about, it relies on the fact that a lot of these top-level officials can't keep getting all of this corrupt money and then from europe to latin american countries, to anywhere else. and they spent the people's money. so the people of venezuela are suffering desperately, the top echelon of folks are doing quite well. we see that from the very top. have you put these people on the red notice list so that if they ever set foot outside of the country, they will at least have so fear of being arrested that their only trip to cuba is not much better. they can have all of the money , but if that money
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cannot be spent on anything gives you joy and pressure -- pleasure, that is worthless. so i think that is the critical i worked for usaid for a while on this issue. it is such a sad situation. this is a human made disaster. there was no hurricane, no earthquake, no anything you can point to and say the people are suffering because of x. no disease, no nothing. it was bad men decisions, purely and simply. to this day, it is still that. maduro, just out of pure cynicism, pure evil, decides to not allow aid into his country. maybe if years ago you could've it iswell, he thinks knowledge is the optics of a failing state. there is no optics battle anymore, that is over.
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nobody in the world actually believes that the state is thriving. nobody in the world believes that venezuela is prospered. nobody, nobody. you still not allow humanitarian aid into your country? how do you still take that brutal step? people talk about him getting an exit ramp, well i think his days of not being tried a very harshly by whoever are numbered, if not already out. don't see how you can get away from that in the eyes of justice. the blood of the people of venezuela are on maduro's pants. -- hands. i completely agree with the ambassador. it is time for the international community to step up and forced humanitarian aid in. let the military turn it out. the people need to see that. isy need to see that there
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no doubt about it as to who is preventing them from threatening and who is killing them in the streets from starvation, lack of medicine, and everything else. >> thank you, fernando. going back to january 10, we have a new press in the assembly. his calling not only the international community, but the people. he is calling the military to recognize him and recognize the assembly as the presidency before he assumed the presidency himself. we are facing the chicken and a policy that we many times face. question to you ambassador is how do we deal with this dilemma , the chicken and a dilemma. what is stopping the international community from recognizing the republic?
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of modifier inrt front of the noun president. the interim president or the transitional president, something that makes it clear that there is a realization that he also would not have reached the presidency to the normal constitutional democratic process. i would bent, prepared to say that you could make a compelling argument, a political argument. but quite frankly, a legal argument. sovereign government in the world would be within its rights to, in fact, make that decision. and say that from our fact,ctive, they are, in at this time, the interim constitutional president of the republic of venezuela. we all know, there are times when a legal argument and a
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legal position has to come to inps with the real world which it is being made and or implemented. and in the real world, as everyone in this room is fully mister is quite a -- very restricted in how much he is permitted to do inside venezuela. maneuverhis area for is very defined and limited. if he crosses any of those red lines, he runs a buried in chance of finding himself in a in wherever the government might choose to place them. ,o all governments of the world and i think there are about 196 that are currently recognized as members of the united nations,
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do have to engage in two assessments as they make their announcements and decisions. one is are they comfortable with the legal analysis? i am. there are other citizens plusled to their own view another 7.5 billion or so sprinkled around the world. i believe there is a solid legal case to be made. if the international community has plus another 7.5 billion or so sprinkled around the world. concluded that the national , and the at this stage ts jr the sole remaining constitutional organs and institutions in venezuela. that is the determination of those institutions, then we have a legal right to say that, therefore, guaido is the interim
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president with the executive authorities of the present -- presidency. that is one determination. another is that if we make that determination, are we just marching a man off to prison? that is a tough decision and is why we are in meetings, to work our way through these difficult problem sets. question me to put the , to roll back the question. the second is to let's take a look at this the aspera. are 4st because there million venezuelans, but because by definition, they are located outside of the reach of the current government in venezuela. extent,they, to some perform some of the functions that an interim president in the
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venezuela would normally want to do,would very much like to but is not going to be permitted to do so because he is in the control of the tentacles of the octopus running things in the venezuela. i have not thought things through completely, but you cannot tell me that with 4 billion human beings spread around the world, but for the most part concentrated, there is not a way to establish some sort of permanent structure, some sort of organization within that diaspora which might cover over time, offer an alternative. there, i've said it again. >> good point. >> i think the national assembly can do that. they can transfer some powers to an organization outside of venezuela. , wean collect diaspora
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could also called legitimate representatives of the national assembly. , now we we are saying have the whole -- support of the whole community. legitimate representation outside the country. fernando, the ambassador just touch on a point of concern with other international communities, guaido'sdo -- juan safety. whether president or not, there wea chance he faces jail recognize him as president, that is what will face the threat. the threat is now happening now, especially because there is a dictatorship. it is not only him, to be frank, every single notes island -- n has thegle venezuela
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right to not be oppressed. his potential to face jail a concern? >> yes, if he does try to take note. or in a month or two, when majuro thinks he can get away with it. but he has proven himself to go after any opposition figure who appears to in any way represent a legitimate democratic threat .hat is what dictators do
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it could be playing arrest, torture, or all of the above. withve seen that play out the leader of the opposition that is have a legitimate shot i would not expect maduro to all of a sudden change his mind. that will play out. the other question is if that will happen sooner rather than later, and that might be affected by the decision of whether or not they are sworn in. i would not expect would euro to --nd by and love to have mature into standby and allow that to happen. not alter the timeline and get him behind bars sooner rather than later. again, what is important here is for the international community come as a debates with her not to recognize, first of all, can we legally? and the investor made a
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compelling argument, and i would love to hear from the investor on this. my understanding, and you know this way better than i do, is that the united states does not recognize governments, we recognize countries. again, i have been briefed on this in the past, maybe other countries might be able to just flat out recognize an individual leader, we tend to say we have an embassy index country and and is that -- in x country that is that. opposing claims to leadership in a country, i'm not sure if there is a lot of precedent for us to take a side. i think we just let the people figure it out. back to the bigger question. be playing aed to bigger game, not just making decisions on the fly. if we know that recognizing him lead to his arrest, what is the
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decision at that point? we have to have that decision made before we make this decision that causes him to go down in harm's way. it would be irresponsible of us to not play that if they smart and well thought out way. again, i say we have to back up whatever that is with action. it is easy for us to have rhetoric out of the sea. there are some real-world implications for that and for people in venezuela. if all that comes out of that is just detention, torture, and nothing else, then we will have done a disservice to the greater good of the international community. to take thatng step, then what tangible action can be prepared to take to back that up if and when, really, the so-called legitimate leader of venezuela is arrested and beaten
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and tortured, and what else. cannot do want to answer the question of how the u.s. will deal with two different institutions or governments? there is no precedent, but can you give us a light on this issue? >> recognizing country versus government. let me offer you the fruits of 39 years of experience in the depomed service of the united states of america. if at the end of careful you heart and review from the secretary of state transmitting the view of the present that we wish to recognize this particular individual as the president of the government of another country, i will find a way to find diplomatic precedent, legal as required,ns, statements in the that states code, and if i have to, the constitution, that will indicate
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this is what we can do and we will do it. if at the end of the day, this is imaginary, i don't work for the department of state any longer, if i hear from the secretary of state that we want to be careful and got drawn into this site hundred 80 million americans screaming at us to do , they find that never before in the history of the united states of america have we ever take the step of recognizing an individual as president when there is another or others who claim the same as it should. school in the law nation. i have no discomfort in assuring way.hat they will find a it is the pragmatic point.
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is not just a legal or diplomatic issue. this oneot to think through in terms of what is, from our perspective, in venezuela's interest. what is in the interest of those individuals with inside venezuela who are courageously trying to fight for some form of constitutional democracy in their nation. that should drive us, it's not a legal issue or a diplomatic issue. figure who wes should be tracked support and help at how we can best do that. times, and as fernando has suggested, just a silence might be the best thing. other times, we can conclude that if we can get 50 other to recognize an individual, that might give him some degree of protection or at least make it harder for him to be picked up on the street the next morning.
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would depend on the circumstances and depend upon who else is prepared to join us. one-size-fits-all, it is not an same decision all the time, but it is very definitely something all of us who were in government, as well as those who are thinking through informing the decisions of government how we should proceed. i willing to speculate that most people seated in this room agreed that the government is not a good thing for venezuela. that is the easy part. the much harder part is hammering out, therefore, how do we as the united states of america and the broader international community react to respond to that? sorry, i got on my high horse. >> no problem, ambassador. one last point before we opened it up to queue and day.
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we want to discuss the implications, legal and political. yesterday, 19 countries declared to not recognize maduro as president of venezuela. --key lacks that legitimacy saying he lacks the legitimacy. what are the implications moving forward? maybe today, but in the next few weeks of the next month. how is this lack of legitimacy from the door of, and presumably the national assembly assuming its role, affect the way countries do contracts, agreements, diplomatic relationships with the republic of venezuela? what is your sense, ambassador, of what type of implications are we going to be facing? >> i will run a few ideas off
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you. there is one principle of diplomacy which has worked fairly well. helen of troy, about 3000 years ago, that's the principle of reciprocity. the reason it works is because it is such a simple concept. it can be articulated in the following simple way, you screw us, we screw you, and we do it in exactly the same way. that is the principle of diplomatic reciprocity. you cancel vesey's for us, we cancel them for you. you throw diplomats out, we throw your diplomats out. use these to recognize us and our government, we will cease to recognize you and your government, and so on down the line. we have to keep this in mind as we work our way through this problem set. to a certain extent it is more of an issue for other nations that do not have the benefit of 320 million and a global
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presence, and perhaps the misfortune of being located in the same region as the republic is pushing outat between 1 million and 2 million citizens every year. you have to take that into account. that is one legitimate concern. second, it'salso contracts. there are many individuals and many companies in many that haveons, contracts of some nature in order with entities in venezuela. some of them are to billions of dollars of value. we do have to take the interest of those contractors into account. we may take them into account, assess it, and say tough luck. you had every reason to understand who you were closing a deal with, or even better, you
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knew that this was a dirty deal from the very beginning. are noto the judge, we going to take your concerns into account. we have to make clear, compelling, and coherent arguments on contracts and figure out how to play it. third, and this is from the diplomatic and political international community perspective, let us keep in mind as we work our way through these two not sets insignificant players and the international community, one which speaks overwhelmingly russian and a second which speaks either mandarin or , will probably not be
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on the side of the good guys on this matter. now it's only two countries, we can say, but they are kind of significant countries. they do have a substantial amount of investment -- political, economic, even security in venezuela, and we do have to remember as we work our way through these rep. loebsack: that they are not going to be allies or friends as we work these issues. both fernando and i have works through the issue fairly aggressively, i think. let us remember the capabilities of the mafia state of mr. maduro, to retaliate inside venezuela. that has to be something we take into account as we work our way through decisions. finally, one thing -- i live through the -- of 1980 i believe it was, which was the first time, i think, in recorded
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history in which a government determined to use as an offensive weapon its ability to push its own citizens out from the country and have them overwhelm the capabilities of another country. i watched that from my position in venezuela, where i was a first two are vice consuls, a very young man, in 1980. i take the lessons we learned from that and i say, is this something else he could do? i'm guessing in the course of 2019 between 1 million and 2 million venezuelans will hit the road and become refugees to escape their nation. could he decide to crank it up to 5 million? i bet he could, and it's regardless something we've got to think about as we work our way through this problem. >> thank you, ambassador. i do on a couple quick
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questions, it is pushing a we haven the middle and got these questions from so many people. let's talk about a concrete step forward. one thing the u.s. could do, for example, is to recognize a representative not from the mafia state but from the national assembly. is that a concrete step venezuela should be thinking to do now? and the second question is from a contractual agreement -- if maternal lacks any legitimacy in assuming his role, should all of direct venezuela buyers other companies to pay the mafia state for the national assembly?
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there are a couple questions that i know are hard to answer but i really want to get both of your quick sauce and then we can open it up. >> absolutely. i will start by saying a point i made earlier, which is i think very critical right now. 2017, themer of venezuelan people were there in the international community let them down. i think the united states to a decent job but the international community as a whole was not there when they needed to be. now we have the opposite situation. the international community is there -- as of yesterday, no people were rallied, everyone was on the same page, we finally are one big, happy, and team at duro family -- the venezuelan people are not there. and of course i understand the harsh situation that they live that he hastand
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done everything in his power to suppress his own people from being able to have enough food to show up in the streets to say, thebut i have to international community will not resolve this problem alone. it's impossible for them, from the outside, to resolve this problem. this problem will have to be resolved primarily by the venezuelan people. it is their country, it is they who are on the attack. if i was understanding the circumstance i would strongly encourage as much as possible for people to show up, for people to march and say what they want. if people don't agree with the decision yesterday in the blizzard venezuela it is time to show up and tell the world. it is time to get this momentum to move forward together. what i think didn't work about 2017 could work right now. if we had all the world marching
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in the same direction, then we will be in a very good place as far as putting the actual pressure on maduro and his in her circle. but again, that requires first and foremost the people and they need to lead. that's my first point about next steps and what really needs to happen as quickly as possible for this momentum to not die. the next point i would make -- the oes took a while to get on board. have gotten to a point where we can consistently as resolutions passed, and you saw yesterday, it was very good and it got 19 votes. it just crossed the threshold of what is needed, and i'm glad it passed, it's important. but if you want to take any action that a little more significant you are going to need 23 vote and i will tell you
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right now there are not 23 votes right now. there aren't. it's incredibly frustrating, it's incredibly sad. if you read the democratic charter that is the basis, there is no clearer case study of violation of that charter -- there's no clearer example of why the charter was written meant to prevent what is happening in venezuela. every single member states signed onto that charter, and yet still to this day despite the plethora of evidence, despite the humanitarian crisis, despite the consequences, there are still not even 100% of countries but two thirds of countries in the region that are willing to come out and do a strong action on venezuela. questionsly raises about the potential benefit of using a multilateral body.
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the u.n. is out of the question, russia and china would veto anything that even mentioned venezuela. , can theyleft asking get something done, and if not, let's be pragmatic and stop going through it and go straight to lima. the like-minded countries that do vote against venezuela represent 95% of the population of the western hemisphere, 98% of the gdp of the western hemisphere. something's wrong. gdpof the gdp of 95% of the , that failed, is that democracy? we have a separate issue to deal with their but regardless that is the reality of where we are. i think you need to focus on the pragmatic and you can't get stuck on the bureaucratic nonsense.
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the final point i would make is there, thementum is hope is up again. i think there could be a real damage to the cause if this hope is once again shattered. we have been through this , getting their hopes up, high expectations, only to be let down. i really hope something vague comes out of what we are going through, i believe it is one of the last, best chances for this to be resolved through some sort of constitutional or peaceful way. nowt doesn't get results then we are up against a situation where either we have a new cuba and this will be permanent dictatorship for the next x decades, or we have violence, whether that be a .evolution or an invasion the only way at that point we end this thing is through violence.
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we are really at a fork in the road and i really hope that the venezuelan people will come out, will show what democracy looks like to the world into maduro, and will be able to sheer force of will with support and full backing of the international community get this dictator out in as peaceful away as possible. >> thank you. people waiting for questions. > microphone.r the i want to thank csi s for continuously being on top of this issue. i think this battle we have here -- i do hope that people making this issue in this country and
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those who are watching from get to be closer than anybody i know. having said that, the question i want to ask is related to the cause of usurpation. what maduro is doing is usurping power. clearly the pressure that has to come in is how do you raise the so thatr him doing that it lasts as short a period as possible and we eliminate this kind of confusion as to who is the legitimate government of venezuela. within the vacuum of having a country that the civilized world does not recognize and one that they politically but don't legally recognize, that vacuum has to be closed very clearly. i am of the thought that the people of venezuela have the
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responsibility. a lot of our problems actually extend beyond venezuela, and some of them have huge geopolitical implications. he sell the promise of venezuela, but the promise they created, which i support that people outside no better with the applications are. the question i want to ask both of you is, is legally -- andzing mr. maduro let's not focus on whether he gets put in jail, because i doubt it, the cost would be almost unbearable -- but if he has to leave the country or has it isinto exile,
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recognizing venezuela legally is a great way of putting a tremendous amount of pressure on who can't pull the tools of power and cannot manage a foreign account, can't interact on debt, can manage the affairs of the country because those are being managed by a group of people from venezuela .r outside venezuela ofisn't that the kind pressure we should be applying? >> we saw one more question right behind you. yes. >> thank you very much. when the student at georgetown university and my question is the following. many legal solutions were mentioned, but many back: field legal solutions would take too long for that legal solutions to address thent
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rampant corruption, and systematically implementation throughout the entire government. what situations, what possible solutions would be applicable to the situation, given that the venezuelan society is also correct? >> thank you. >> we have a couple questions that we want to answer first and then we will move on -- feel free to jump in. that allows pagers, for non-go to think on how he -- i still have a good number of friends there although i try not to speak about them in public. i would condemn them, i'm certain, to no end of problems and concerns, but i have maintained more friends from
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kabul than any of the other a different cities i've lived in in my 39 years of diplomatic service. perhaps it will surprise you or perhaps it will not, i do the same assessment you do, and i reached basically the same conclusion, which is to say that by recognizing something as the legitimate government other than make a list maduro -- nicolas maduro and his band of musketeers, at the end of the day, through it's a secondary impact, which is to say negotiating contracts, having international agreements, being able to participate in international decision-making, would actually increase the pressure more than the downsides of recognition. say that weto should immediately make that decision. i reach this conclusion after a good 30 to 40 seconds of careful deliberation.
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i suspect if we spent a few days with a good number of government experts, we at least would owe due diligence to make sure we have assessed all the potential onacts that would have, both the recognizing governments and countries as well as on venezuela it. and as for anonymous said and i am in agreement, we have an withation to both consult and think about the impact of what we are going to do on those that are still inside venezuela. it doesn't mean they necessarily get a veto but they certainly have a right to say we are comfortable are uncomfortable with this but my own view is recognizing by whatever means we choose to do it so that it is consistent with our laws, our
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constitutions, and our long-established diplomatic process, recognizing an alternative government probably onld produce more pressure the non-recognized government. that is my position. the group may disagree with that or transfer himself to 1979 where it was the perl of all of venezuela. to touch him pedro's -- in my mind,ee without careful deliberation, that it would be more beneficial and harmful. however i have been thoroughly wrong in my internal beliefs in the past. when we would call an interagency meeting, investors attended thousands of these, i love to everyone.
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everyone does. when you call an interagency meeting together and you have the department of defense, department of justice, everybody at the table, and you say i have this great idea, we should install a vending machine at the airport, you hear all sorts of horrific ways that could destroy the world. you'll find out real quick that first of all it's illegal, second of all its unconstitutional, third of all you can be arrested for bring it up. it's amazing how quickly these things all happen. but the point is there are legitimate concerns, and concerns that i would never have considered. there are specialists, when they are not furloughed, working for the government who are very good at what they do and very knowledgeable on very specific points. and again, whereas we appear more focused on the big picture,
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there could very well be an international specialist at doj who could tell you the incredible difficulty that would ofse to a specific part something that could impact the humanitarian situation on the ground. ramifications that we can't predict would be negative. i think it has to be very carefully studied and thoroughly debated amongst those that have something to provide of input on that. to the second question, what should we -- should we follow the legal path which would be slower or should we follow some other path which conveniently you did not name but i imagine would be more aggressive in the nonlegal way. it's not either that's the thing we need to be doing now.
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it's not time for us to be slowly getting in line. to benot time for us moving to the international court of justice and saying, we've done our part, watch our hands. that time has long passed. we need to be doing everything. the interaction part of justice is a legitimate process and we need to go through that. i'm glad the group has reaffirmed that. i think that is something that will ultimately make an historic and important ruling, that will of howape the course society looks back on what's happening in venezuela. that has its importance. will that solve it here and now? no, i completely agree that should not be where we put all of our eggs. having said that, there are some legal processes that are worth doing right now that would have an impact. , iething i mentioned early think it would be a very effective approach to pressure
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the inner circle of the regime and i would say let's expand to a broader circle because if you are still there you are complicit. it's not just let me run away in another year and decided had enough -- you have too much blood on your hands. you need to bring us documents, you need to testify, whatever it is. if you are there, you need to actively prove you are not complicit and are willing to help ring down the durham to get off the hook. if you go through that red notice process you will create an incredible amount of pressure. who prop up evil dictators love to go to disney world, it's amazing. they want to go shopping in miami. they want their center dot her to study at harvard or wherever else they pay for them to go to. havelove to be able to illnesses and travel to the best hospitals in the world and get cured. that is what they use their corrupt money for.
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they want their beach house in 12 different countries to enjoy. if they fear they will no longer be allowed to go to any real western, civilized country, and that their only recourse would be cuba, maybe they will still have some good doctors but they won't be very happy. and when you get unhappy bribed officials, maybe they are not as happy, and that is when you get people to turn. i think valid would be a very effective legal process we should follow before we consider anything extrajudicial. duro -- weseen the have the simple of former justices and the legitimate supreme court based in caracas, he's in the u.s., he's on the other side -- >> and that was appointed was trying to make earlier.
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so iot making decisions can opine with any consequence. think that justice deserves to be treated in any heroic or special way, unless he is willing to bring with him evidence of corruption, the lack of democracy. tangible, physical, transparent, go out and do a press conference and announce what he has brought as far as physical evidence. as much blood is in his hands as everyone else, you can change your mind after so many have died and hope all is forgiven. that time has passed and people need to make it very clear break with substantive evidence being provided to support the downfall of the dictator. >> important point. i want to get a question from two venezuelan journalists in hearing from the
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venezuelan people more than anyone else in the room. yeah. >> thank you. withuelans are so grateful the international community, but for so long they are arguing that they can't resolve this crisis by themselves. as you said, ambassador, you are trapped. yesterday we had this without, but once they the theyitimacy of madero, could have removed the ambassador, and they didn't. what are your remarks about that, about the region having this kind of extempore action. my second question, it is more
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straightforward, i promise. do you think this administration can do something radical or decisive? we spent a year hearing from donald trump, saying that every option is on the table, even the strong ones, and of course we want to know if that is true or real. >> thank you. jorge? have kind of the same question. officials in the trump administration told the voice of america that the next step of the administration will be really impactful measures against the government. what do you think could be or must be the answers from the u.s.? >> thank you.
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we have a couple questions. i think one is critical, which is now what? what's next? we have tried many things in the past and we know statements about the presidential declaration is not enough and more needs to be done. so what's next from the u.s. government perspective, from the international community perspective? and then we have the question on the implications, if you don't mind. let's start with you, ambassador. >> ok. let me offer answers in the order in which the questions came. first, removal -- not just but removal of other representatives from a body such as the oas. the problem, ladies and gentlemen, as fernando has already alluded to, is the
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internal order and procedures of in this case the organization of american states, which -- theies its charter majority's that are necessary to take certain steps. certain steps can be taken by simple majority, some decisions require a larger majority. some require three-quarters in agreement before they can implement a decision that has taken. but ild have to review, would be fairly confident that expelling a permanent representative from the oas would require a supermajority, and that, as fernando was pointing to, is going to be a problem as we push further an organization such as the ois, despite the fact that, as he so
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eloquently and accurately stated, the 19 that have so far taken the stand on venezuela represents more than 95% of the total population of all of the ofricas and more than 98% the gross domestic product of all of the americas. should perhaps the charters and procedures be reformed? perhaps, but that will require a simple majority in order for such a situation to occur. your point is a good one. it is, however, the price, i guess, we pay for the rules of the organization that we have joined, and let me tell you, based upon my limited experience, if you think the oas problem, just imagine, take that problem and multiply it by 10, and you're beginning to move into the united nations in terms
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of how it system works. in terms of a more radical system, a fair point by both of you that having heard it, -- and i americanizing when are we going to actually see something? argue first that we have not been sitting on our hands, i believe there has been a far more effective and vigorous sanctions approach over the last two years than we saw over the preceding 200 years, and they are having an impact. even as a grouchy guy earlier noted, the more sanctions, the more pressure it is bringing to bear upon them, so i do insist upon getting some
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recognition for what has already occurred. that said, i agree with you completely -- we should be looking for ways, collectively, -- no, that is the preference -- collectively to take a more ambitious, good word, aggressive -- frightens a good number of people -- approach to venezuela. points in my few incredibly powerful presentation, and one is let's stop talk about asking mr. maduro to permit humanitarian assistance, let's start moving humanitarian assistance to the border for him to say no and lineup is armed officers to allow us to come in, or we come in. meanwhile, when unilaterally figure out who in venezuela, which is not the government, could actually serve as the distribution mechanism.
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there are a few organizations that are big enough, well enough discipline, have good enough priorities, that could serve that role. i would say that is being a bit meatier. second, what can we do with the iaspora?is for i do have concepts. get them organized in some way, shape, or form. let them established bodies that allow them to have a presence to perform certain functions, wherever they should be. they should not be in madrid, washington, or new york. i think they should be much closer to venezuela, even if it uggy little bit hot and m down there, to actually be seen, to be performing a serious role, and then let them involve as decisions and build a permanent secretariat into something that begins to look like, smell like, seem to be an
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alternative government to whatever it is that mr. maduro is projecting. and there are other, beefier i willut there, which not offer right now, but you can figure them out, as well as i can. if you have 200 venezuelans living within 50 miles of the border within venezuela, does it give you some options and opportunities>? maybe. i think some people can look at it. i am sorry, for fernando, now you can walk me down. [laughter] mr. rendon: we will finish with you. mr. cutz: from my perspective, being in the white house first for roughly a year and a half, working on venezuela policy, we have taken everything that -- well, let me say any official statement that have been put out, i will not say everything
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that has been said, speaker , but everything was debated, was discussed, and i will say -- what can we do? we can do a lot. the question is -- what will we do? what are we, the american people, prepared to bear? and what will be, somehow, beneficial, big picture, to venezuelan people? leftyou talk about what is in the roadmap we crafted in actions against venezuela, it is oil embargo, and it is war, r ight, at the end of the day. unless there have been another 38 meetings of the agency, which i am not possible, and aware of, but in my mind at least, those are the two main options as well. an oil embargo is doable. we can certainly do it. i do not think economically it
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would present a huge threat to the united states in any way, especially right now with gas prices the way they are. the question, though, is, what will be the impacts to the people of venezuela? the united states controls about 90% of venezuela's gdp through oil prices. primarily to the united states and give some to china for a debt payment. some to india but primarily the united states. so if we were to shut that down, if we were to say tomorrow that this stops now, then we have destroyed venezuela's economy, literally. it is destroyed. it is shattered. will that be good or bad? i don't know. some people would argue that would be great. that would be the spark they needed to get the people to revolt against maduro. other people would argue that would be a humanitarian climate, and people would be starting a
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dying in the streets, and then maduro could rightfully point of united states and say this is your fault, you did this. it is a real pickle we could be in, and it would be a situation where from the u.s. policy colinctive, as coli powell said, you break it, you own it. need to go on with the billions and billions of dollars that we need to fix the humanitarian prices that we may very well initiated by that decision. you know, a again, that is where we are. it has been debated, it is no doubt being debated right now, but it is a very difficult decision to make. mr. rendon: gentlemen, this has been an honor being with you in this panel. thank you so much. i think the main conclusion, if you would let me, we have proof,
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doing nothing for venezuela has brought tremendous consequences. actions need to be taken. thank you so much. thank you all for coming to csi s. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [overlapping chatter]
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of they is the 22nd day government shutdown, setting the record for the longest government shutdown in u.s. history. continue to follow the story with house and senate debates and briefings, all on the c-span network. "washingtonjim: journal," live everyday with news and policy issues that impact you. morning, this professional service council's votkin will join us, and national parks conversation association -- conservation rengelation's kristen b and "washington examiner'" hs" o
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gurdon discusses conservative a,urnalism in the trump er live on "washington journal." joined the discussion. the senate confirmation hearings for william barr to become the next attorney general of the united states begins next week. he was nominated to replace jeff sessions tillie william barr is now of counsel at the law firm of kirkland and ellis and served as the u.s. attorney general resident george h.w. bush. processe confirmation for nominee william barr tuesday at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span3. texas voters elected nine new members of congress during the midterms, five of them republicans. dan crenshaw is the former navy seal who lost an eye to an ied in afghanistan.
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he was born in scotland and spent some of his childhood in south america, where his father worked in the oil industry. less good and was an insurance broker for energy companies prior to his election. roy is the former u.s. senate staffer, having worked for senator john warner and and as the first chief of staff for senator ted cruz. he also worked for then governor rick perry, even goes writing a book for the governor. mr. roy has also been a federal dan taylor now represents the state's third district. he was previously a member of the texas state legislature, serving terms of both the state house and senate. career come ofle representative taylor saw combat in iraq as a member of the u.s. marine corps. digit, -- sixth district, ron wright served as
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district director. he was on the city council of arlington, texas. new congress, new leaders, watch it all on c-span. of the government shutdown, the house debated a bill to reopen parts of the federal government, including operations for national works and funding for the epa. here is the one hour and 20-minute debate. nsume. rise today in support of h.r. 266, the fiscal year 2019 interior, environment, and related agencies appropriations bill. today is the 21st day of the trump shutdown and the damage it inflicts on the families and communities across this country continues to grow. more than 800,000 federal workers are without pay, and today will be the first missed paycheck for those families. many of our civil servants are working without pay and telling them they have to file for unemployment is outrageous and it's wrong.


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