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Venezuela UN diplomat resigns in protest at Maduro government

Thursday, July 20, 2017

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) – A senior diplomat representing Venezuela at the United Nations has resigned to protest President Nicolas Maduro's repression of demonstrations against his government.

Isaias Medina, a minister counselor at the mission, said in video circulating Thursday that he could no longer represent the government at the world body because of rights violations.

"I cannot be part of a government that is systematically attacking protesters, that is not respecting the constitutional right of manifestation," Medina said in the video filmed at the United Nations.

Venezuela's Ambassador Rafael Ramirez said on Twitter that he "condemned the conduct of Isaias Medina" and that he had been immediately dismissed.

"He doesn't represent us. He has acted dishonestly," said Ramirez.

A UN spokesman did not immediately comment.

One person was killed and three others wounded during nationwide protests in Venezuela on Thursday, bringing the death toll during weeks of demonstrations to 98.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Friday in New York with Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada as international pressure mounts on Maduro to scrap a plan to rewrite the constitution. Guterres has called for an urgent national dialogue to end the violence and agree on a way forward to end the crisis.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose sanctions unless Maduro backs away from his plan.


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