Colombian President Iván Duque called on the world to reject Venezuela’s upcoming parliamentary elections during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, describing them as a “fabricated electoral process” that will help Nicolás Maduro’s socialist dictatorship.
In a pre-recorded speech broadcast virtually, Duque asked nations around the world to “raise their voices” in support of democracy in Venezuela, a country embroiled in one of the world’s most pressing political, economic, and humanitarian crises thanks to two decades of socialist rule.
“We must make a strong appeal to all the nations of the world to raise their voices and demand truly free elections in Venezuela, and not this prefabricated electoral process, to which they intend to take the Venezuelan people this December, simply to perpetuate the dictatorship,” he said.
Venezuela’s National Assembly elections are currently scheduled to take place in December. The majority of opposition parties and lawmakers are planning to boycott them over concerns of widespread fraud on Maduro’s part, who has not been legally the president of Venezuela for over a year. Nearly every election Maduro’s regime has presided over in the past decade has exhibited signs of substantial fraud, voter intimidation, and irregular activities at the polls, resulting in victories for Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
Duque also highlighted the “crimes against humanity” carried out by the Maduro regime, as recently substantiated by U.N. human rights investigators, as well as the widespread evidence of drug trafficking and support for terrorist organizations such as the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
“What Maduro seeks with these crimes against humanity is to perpetuate his tyranny, so everyone, absolutely everyone in the international community, must reject that situation,” Duque declared. “Maduro’s dictatorial regime is sustained by drug trafficking resources, is home to terrorists, and is a constant threat to democracy in the region and around the world.”
In their report, investigators charged the regime with “arbitrary killings and the systematic use of torture,” adding that they were “coordinated and committed pursuant to State policies, with the knowledge or direct support of commanding officers and senior government officials.”
Last month, President Duque also accused Maduro of attempting to buy medium- and long-range missiles from Iran.
“There is information from international intelligence organisms that work with us which shows there is interest from the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro in acquiring some medium and long-range missiles through Iran,” Duque said at the time. “The information is that (the missiles) still haven’t arrived but there has been contact especially under instructions from (Venezuela Defense Minister Vladimir) Padrino.”