United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday that Venezuela is "an increasingly violent narco-state" and a threat to the world during an informal Security Council meeting boycotted by four countries.
The Security Council meeting, boycotted by Russia, China, Egypt and Bolivia, included strong condemnation from Haley about Venezuela using pressure to keep council members from attending the meeting, according to the Associated Press:
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Venezuela's U.N. ambassador, Rafael Ramirez, denounced the session, telling reporters: "This is a hostile act from the United States and an interference that violates the sovereignty principles of a country that is a member of the United Nations."
The situation in Venezuela is not on the Security Council's official agenda — a point stressed by Ramirez and Bolivia's U.N. ambassador — but Haley said she will continue "to use the convening power of the United Nations to draw attention to this crisis."
The informal meeting sharply divided the 15 members on the U.N.'s most powerful body. In addition to the four countries that boycotted, diplomats noted that Ethiopia and Uruguay indicated the meeting shouldn't have been held and Senegal didn't speak.
Italy and the United States organized the meeting by circulating a note to other council members about hearing first-hand accounts of the deteriorating political and economic situation in oil-rich Venezuela. The note also said the meeting would discuss the international community's role in finding political solutions.
"The situation unfolding in Venezuela is more than a human tragedy," Haley said. "The crisis in Venezuela today poses a direct threat to international peace and security. Venezuela is an increasingly violent narco-state that threatens the region, the hemisphere and the world."
Haley also addressed the Venezuelan people and said that President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government has caused them to suffer high inflation rates after previously having the highest GDP-per-capita in the region.
"[Venezuela] cares only for preserving its own power, rather than promoting the freedom and welfare of its people," Haley said.
"Today, families struggle to live on just about eight dollars a month," Haley added. "The result is that Venezuela's neighbors are paying the bill for the violence and poverty the corrupt Maduro regime has inflicted on its people."