WASHINGTON failed to win support for United Nations intervention in Venezuela’s crisis on Wednesday as thousands of troops were deployed against anti-government rioters.
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called the security council meeting to discuss the political confrontation in the South American country.
Comparing Venezuela to other countries targeted for regime change by Washington, she said: “We’ve been down this road with Syria, North Korea, South Sudan, Burundi, with Burma.”
She backed demands by the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition (Mud) for an early presidential election in its bid to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuelan ambassador Rafael Ramirez rejected the US “interventionist posture” which “feeds the most violent groups.”
British ambassador Matthew Rycroft backed Ms Haley and the Washington-based Organisation of American States’ calling of a foreign ministers’ summit later this month on the crisis.
But Bolivia’s Sacha Llorentty Soliz said the security council was interfering in regional efforts to negotiate a truce.
Meanwhile, the Venezuelan armed forces said they were sending 2,000 Bolivarian National Guard and 600 special operations troops to western Tachira state, where 11 police stations have been torched and dozens of businesses looted this week.
Fifteen-year-old Jose Guerrero died in hospital there on Wednesday after being shot as he walked past a demonstration on Tuesday.
On Wednesday night, opposition militants attacked a maternity hospital in Carrizal, south-west of Caracas, forcing authorities to transfer three babies and a woman in labour to another facility.
Mr Maduro said the hospital was “besieged by armed gangs of the Mud. Terrorists I call them.”
Last month, more than 50 children had to be evacuated from the capital’s Hugo Chavez maternity and children’s hospital after thugs set it on fire.