Chronology of Events

revised on 1 June 2020


May 2020

On 20 May, the Security Council held an open VTC meeting on Venezuela at the request of Russia (S/2020/435). Under‑Secretary‑General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed the Council. The meeting was prompted by a letter that Venezuela sent to the Security Council on 13 May (S/2020/399) in which it alleges that there was an attempt by groups of mercenaries to infiltrate Venezuela between 3 and 4 May, with the aim of perpetrating criminal acts and assassinating high-level officials in the country. The letter claims involvement by Colombia and the US in the alleged attempted infiltration- an allegation which both countries have denied. At the 20 May meeting, Di-Carlo echoed the Secretary-General’s position, which opposes any escalation of the situation in Venezuela, and called for the resumption of political dialogue between the main political parties in the country and for the holding of credible and inclusive elections. She further expressed concern about the politicisation of humanitarian aid and about reports of detentions of political leaders and journalists reporting on COVID-19 in Venezuela.

April 2020

On 22 April, Council members convened a meeting on Venezuela under “any other business” at the request of Russia. The meeting was requested following Venezuela’s 3 April letter to the Council referring to the US announcement that it would deploy warships to the western Caribbean Sea “close to the Venezuelan coast”. Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and Americas Miroslav Jenča briefed the Council, while describing the political divisiveness in the country and recalling the Secretary-General’s offer to provide “good offices” if requested by the government and the opposition. On 28 April, Council members held an informal closed VTC meeting to discuss the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, at the request of the Council’s EU member countries (Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany). Reena Ghelani, OCHA’s Director for Operations briefed the Council on the humanitarian situation and the impact of the spread of COVID-19 in the country, while calling for increased access to humanitarian assistance and more funding for humanitarian response. Following the meeting, the Council’s EU member countries together with Poland held a press stakeout where they expressed concern about the spread of the pandemic in Venezuela, which was already struggling with a grave economic, social and humanitarian situation, while stressing the need for the de-politicisation of humanitarian aid and the need to uphold the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, humanity, impartiality and independence. 

May 2019

On 14 May, Council members were briefed under “any other business” on developments in Venezuela at the request of Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and the UK. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock and Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed Council members. France also gave an update on the work of the International Contact Group.

April 2019

On 10 April, the Council met at the request of the US to discuss the humanitarian situation in Venezuela. Secretary-General António Guterres made introductory remarks and the Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock. The Council was also briefed by Eduardo Stein, the Joint Special Representative of the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, and Dr. Kathleen Page, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. US Vice President Mike Pence participated in the meeting. 

February 2019

On 28 February, the Security Council met and voted on two competing draft resolutions. The US draft was vetoed by China and Russia. South Africa also voted against it. It received nine affirmative votes (Belgium, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Kuwait, Peru, Poland, the UK and the US), while three members abstained (Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Indonesia). The Russian draft failed to garner enough votes to be adopted; four members voted in favour of the draft (China, Equatorial Guinea, Russia and South Africa), seven members voted against it (Belgium, France, Germany, Peru, Poland, the UK and the US), and four members abstained (Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and Kuwait).