the us defence secretary says pyongyang must stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons or face the end of its regime and the destruction of its people. kenya's electoral commission has dismissed accusations its computer system was hacked. the main opposition party has rejected the provisional results which indicated a strong lead for president uhuru kenyatta. international observers are calling for calm after opposition supporters clashed with the police. the captain of mexico's national football team has been sanctioned by the us for allegedly being linked to a drug—trafficking cartel. rafael marquez was one of 21 people named by the us treasury department. they are all accused of having ties with alleged drug trafficker raul flores hernandez. it's time now for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i am stephen
sackur. venezuela's political and economic crisis is precariously poised. the maduro regime is determined to rewrite the constitution to strengthen its grip on power. the opposition is intent on power. the opposition is intent on using mass protest to bring the government down. the current stand—off is not sustainable, but which side will prevail? my guest is isaias medina. until last month the venezuelan diplomat at the un. now an anti— maduro dissident. can maduro al asked his enemies? —— at last. isaias medina, welcome to hardtalk.
thank you. thank you so much. i would like to express my gratitude not only to you personally but to hardtalk and the bbc for representing a jet of leith hardships the venezuelan people are living in right now. —— objectively the hardships. we would do that in detail. let's start with a simple explanation, if you like. why did you change sides? for the last couple of years you have been a diplomat at the un representing venezuela and the venezuelan government. and a month ago he decided to jump ship. government. and a month ago he decided tojump ship. why government. and a month ago he decided to jump ship. why was decided tojump ship. why? government. and a month ago he decided to jump ship. why? to begin with, corruption, drug trafficking, terrorist ties, or the illegal attainment of political prisoners
and even less murders of students in the street. and as we have said silence is the biggest partner of impunity andi silence is the biggest partner of impunity and i am a fighter against impunity. and in the last four months it has become undeniable that maduro's regime is violating human rights, and also has compromised the crimes... and committed crimes against humanity. and all of this has shown — not only the high commission of the united nations in his last report, but also by the third report that shows torture and so on. third report that shows torture and so on. therefore i could not remain silent. we will go into those allegations in some detail. before we do, i remain a little bit confused. you serve the venezuelan government from 2015 to 2017. during that period, of course, mr maduro was president of your country. we
know, and i know from personal experience, that the locking up of political opponents was happening long before you decided to make your stand, so were many of the other things you have made allegations about. so i still want to know what prompted you to jump ship about. so i still want to know what prompted you tojump ship now? was it simply because eating maduro's days are numbered and you want to make sure that you are on the right side, as it were? i hope you're right and his days are numbered but what i would like to make clear is that i work for my country. and working for my country in the committee of international law and of course environmental issues that are very important for our planet. i did not see it coming in such a way, such as i believe the international community did not, orwas such as i believe the international community did not, or was not aware of how far maduro's regime could ta ke of how far maduro's regime could take this and in the last month it
is evident, that is undeniable. and i would have to say social media has had a great impact on the images of the police aggression and repression against students of the resistance, which are the heroes of changing phone as —— change in venezuela. and me, i had to not only speak out but stand up for their rights and to make sure that i can bring awareness and raise consciousness to the international community. right, but the allegations he made, that maduro has ties with terrorist organisations, with drug traffickers, that his forces and, again, iam traffickers, that his forces and, again, i am quoting you directly, have used rape as a tortured tool, that he has an arsenal of weapons that he has an arsenal of weapons that he has an arsenal of weapons that he believed could end up in the hands of terrorists and drugs warlords — all of these things make me wonder how you could possibly sit there for two years under maduro's
governance of your country, representing venezuela. wasn't there just a fundamental hypocrisy that you presumably were happy to live with for two years? well, it is your opinion. i do respect it. but i do not agree with it. due to the fact that i was working for my country with the international community. after i have seen all these images, and also i believe that the profound humanitarian crisis in my country led me to try to get help for humanitarian corridor with the order of matter and when i brought it to the awareness of my authorities they just did not care about it because they didn't want to accept the situation in venezuela. that kickstarted my impression. and then i heard my permanent representative of venezuela, raffaele riva mirror's, said there was no humanitarian crisis. —— ramirez.
therefore i had to step out of my work in the international community and start working and investigating what is happening in my country. and the investigations, abbey has said, and not only me, the international community has been clear, the us sanctions clearly establish that this... that maduro's regime has established a clear ties to a drug dealing, terrorist ties, state terrorism, corruption, money laundering. and i think this is very clear. we don't want to introduce to many different topics at once. we will get to those allegations and sanctions in a moment. just sticking with nicolas maduro, who is at the centre of this, forjust one more question. it is important to remember, is it not, that the man has a democratic mandate? he won an election in late 2013. he has a
mandate which lasts until the end of 2018. if you are a democrat, that surely matters. it matters as long as, first of all, it is a real election, and second of all, if you do not delegitimise yourself by attacking your population, your civilians, like he is doing. and third of all, you do not commit unconstitutional acts. even further, there was another mandate on the 16th ofjuly which, by my humble legal opinion, article 70 of the national constitution of venezuela establishes as binding. and the national assembly that was elected democratically again in 2015 also has convened seven points i million signatures to be able to revoke maduro's mandate and repudiate the constituents assembly that he has brought on it and a legally convened -- 7.5 brought on it and a legally convened
—— 7.5 million. brought on it and a legally convened -- 7.5 million. well, of course, he and his government would say got 8 million votes for their constituent assembly which outstrips your 7 million votes, or 6 million votes, foran million votes, or 6 million votes, for an opposition initiative —— illegally. we can bandy around the figures. the bottom line is the constituent assembly is in place. you, if i may characterise you, as a voice in the opposition, you have to decide what to do now. is it your belief that the opposition on the streets, the mass protest, the attempt to topple the government by the street, must that continue? yes, and, first of all, stephen, i don't think they got 8 million. and that is also clear with the scheme that they have planned. not even hugo chavezin they have planned. not even hugo chavez in his best moments got 8 million votes. and maduro, for sure, is in his worst popular moment. i don't think he got 10% — 4%, that is 2 million votes. it is a shameful scheme and sham that they are trying to betray —— 12%. yes, i do believe
the resistance should stay in the streets, day by day, fighting for their rights. they have done a great job so far even though it is so sad to see the murder, they have murdered 130— 140 people in four months. let me stop you there. you put that fact in. it is a very important fact. the circumstances of some of those deaths are still unclear. we know that more than 100 people have died. many of them appear to have been killed by maduro's security forces. i wonder, you know, you sit there right now in miami, idare you know, you sit there right now in miami, i dare say in a fairly co mforta ble miami, i dare say in a fairly comfortable spot, what do you say to the mothers and fathers of those young people who are losing their lives on the streets of caracas and other venezuelan towns and cities, when they say to you, is it worth it? is it worth my son, my daughter, dying for an opposition campaign which, frankly, at the moment, doesn't seem to know quite where it is going? to begin with, i don't
believe this is an opposition campaign. this is already the resista nce campaign. this is already the resistance of the people of venezuela. citizens, normal citizens, are out there trying to buy for their own future. the only thing i can say to the mothers and stu d e nts of thing i can say to the mothers and students of their lives is my humble solidarity, and of course they are heroes and liberators of the regime thatis heroes and liberators of the regime that is an international criminal organisation that has hijacked the country. and the only way out is through people like the resistance and these wonderful young students that are fighting in the street to come back to the rule of law stop what you are an international lawyer and you are a diplomat. you sit there in your civilian clothes. but there in your civilian clothes. but the real question i suppose in venezuela is whether the people in military uniform are going to join the resistance, as you put it, against the maduro regime. some opposition politicians have sent coded messages to the military
saying it is time for you to stand up saying it is time for you to stand up and be counted. do you now believe the time has come for the armed forces, the people inside the armed forces, to rebel against their commanders and their commander in chief? it is their duty to do so. article three, 33 and 350 of the venezuelan constitution empowers not only the military but also ordinary citizens when there it is a regime that undermines human rights. we must step up and do whatever it ta kes. must step up and do whatever it takes. and i think it is time now for the military to stand up. we saw last sunday how a fraction of also military is, former military is, have taken up arms —— and this will raise the bar of this disproportionate use of weapons by maduro. you are advocating
insurrection, new guinea and treason. a month ago he represented the venezuelan government. it is extraordinary. once again, i represent my country, it is called venezuela. and savile rebellion is in article 350. i am calling for that. and you know what the consequence will be — terrible blood shed across your country. we also know at substantial chunk of the country, including those who have access to weaponry, are passionately and deeply committed to defending the socialist revolution and the maduro government. so your position seems to me one which is only going to lead to one thing, which is a bloody civil war. well, there has been a bloody situation in venezuela for 18 years. as you are aware, 350,000 people have died in this period for criminal and violent crimes. 30,000 every year. so it has
already begun. it is a matter of how to stop his criminal organisation that has hijacked the country. i don't think there is a way out through dialogue. they just don't think there is a way out through dialogue. theyjust stall and delay these dialogues because they have nowhere to run. it is not an ordinary situation, stephen. and we must be clear about that. this is not an we must be clear about that. this is notan ordinary we must be clear about that. this is not an ordinary government or ideology. it is a criminal organisation that has terrorist ties and drug trafficking tyres. so this makes a huge difference on what their objectives and their agenda is. you say there is no more room for dialogue, assuming therefore that you think that direct physical confrontation is the only inevitable outcome. ijust wonder confrontation is the only inevitable outcome. i just wonder whether you pause for a moment to think about the 85% of your countrymen and women who are currently living in poverty — children whose malnutrition rates are soaring — children whose malnutrition rates are soaring across — children whose malnutrition rates are soaring across venezuela. maternal mortality rates going
through the roof. children, we see the terrible images of them scavenging through the food in the garbage cans. do you really think that violent confrontation is going to help them deal with their day—to—day economic crisis? to help them deal with their day-to-day economic crisis? i'm sorry to say that you are not the right, but that nicolas maduro's regime has been killing the people, not only from hunger, lack of medicine and treatment, but also in the street. and i wish there was another way out. that is why i called the international community foran called the international community for an international humanitarian intervention. and i think... honestly, i think about this every day, offer an alternative. honestly, i think about this every day, offeran alternative. but honestly, i think about this every day, offer an alternative. but they don't seem to be able to want to offer real negotiation. that is why i believe maduro should capitulate, and he should be accountable to the international criminal court. yes, but we have to deal in the real world. i mean, there is no sign he
is going to capitulate. the commander of his armed forces has also declared his absolute loyalty to the stability of the current government. so capitulation is not on the agenda. you have talked about your desire to see an immediate international humanitarian intervention. i wonder what you mean by that? do you mean you want to see people come into venezuela from outside with arms? armed forces? well, so far what we have seen is stu d e nts well, so far what we have seen is students with sticks and stones fighting disproportionate use of force by the maduro's regime. so they are shooting and killing demonstrators, and i don't think the effect has been great, by the international media. at but in reality, as you said, there is no way to defeat all its against stones. it is a textbook david against goliath. i believe we are
going to win, if at the end of the day, as you have seen. now it is going to be another confrontation. is there another way out? i would like to hear what you think about it, because i don't see it. well, i am more interested about what you think, particularly about this notion of intervention. we have seen in recent days donald trump's administration slapped new sanctions on maduro personally, and some of his key associates. they say they are going to do more. but what they haven't done yet is put direct sanctions on venezuela's oil exports. the eu as well have come up with some harsh words but it hasn't actually imposed serious sanctions on maduro's regime yet. so are you satisfied with what you are seeing? and we can talk about latin america too. are you satisfied with what you are seeing from the international community, when it comes to a response to what is happening inside your country? i am grateful for the response and sanctions from the us and the eu. i believe also
yesterday's lima declaration was incredibly effective, and also other countries in other regions should ma nifest countries in other regions should manifest and express the same support to the illegal national assembly that was elect did in 2015. but i will not be satisfied until this regime stops pressing and killing and leaves venezuelans to choose their own government. but when you appealed to the international community, you allow maduro to use this word which was used before him, and now used by maduro, imperialism. that is what the chavismo regime is saying today. they say that yet again the united states is undertaking plotting and conspiracy to bring down the socialist revolution. and your message plays into their hands. this
is like gaslight psychological policy on maduro. he is trying to divert the reality. he is the only dictator, totalitarian emperor, that is ruling by oppressing his own people. there is no imperialism in the international community trying to help 30 million venezuelans hijacked i international criminal organisation. what do you make of those leftist politicians, in europe, for example, and we have one in the uk, the leader of the 0pposition labour party, jeremy corbyn, who have long been friends, sympathises with, the socialist revolution in venezuela, and who are these days very careful in their words about the venezuela crisis? for example, the other day mr corbyn wouldn't name mr maduro directly. he saidi wouldn't name mr maduro directly. he said i condemn all the violence from all sides. he says we have to recognise that there have been effective and serious attempt at reducing poverty and venezuela. you
know, is that satisfactory, as far as you are concerned, from a leading western politician in response to the crisis? not at all, and it is impossible to defend the indefensible. when you can see clearly the violation of human rights and the crimes against humanity that have been committed in the last four months, it is impossible to defend, quote unquote socialist utopia. it is actually a dystopia. it is unsustainable. you can see the inflation. maduro has actually done something incredible. he has converted venezuela to be the first country in corruption, inflation, violence, and this is com pletely inflation, violence, and this is completely unsustainable, and it is unacceptable. so i think that the your problem is the more you list the failings in the tragedy of
venezuela today, the more i am left scratching my head as to why it is that... scratching my head as to why it is that. . . and scratching my head as to why it is that... and remember, i was in venezuela relatively recently, why it is that there is still a hard co re it is that there is still a hard core of passionate support for chavismo, for the socialist revolution. i am chavismo, for the socialist revolution. iam not chavismo, for the socialist revolution. i am not saying this is direct port, personal support for mr maduro, but there is clearly, amongst a substantial chunk of the venezuelan population, our desire to see that the socialist revolution is not dismantled. are you prepared to accept that? no, what i do understand is there is that chunk that you are talking about, ten, 1296, that you are talking about, ten, 12%, that have been controlled by the regime, giving them certain privileges that are very difficult and within the hardships it is understandable. but the population are looking for a way out. i believe also they want to feel represented. so this is a colossal... i don't
think it isjust so this is a colossal... i don't think it is just that. it is also a deep distrust of some of the opposition leaders and political parties, are feeling that first of all they are deeply divided and don't have a coherent vision for venezuela's future, but also they are driven by their own economic interests, that they are to a certain extent, if i can use the word, the venezuelan oligarchs. and thatis word, the venezuelan oligarchs. and that is a real fear that a lot of poorer venezuelans have. that is why this change will be so important for venezuela's reconstruction and reconciliation, to allow pluralism into the political equation. and this is a call for the opposition to open up and make it more accessible. for all the population to be involved in the decision—making in politics. like, for example, the mandate of 16 july was very politics. like, for example, the mandate of 16july was very clear. so right now what we need to see from the national assembly, where the opposition political leaders are
still sitting back, is to make the right choices. right now, they must appoint their government. and this is why the international community must recognise them as a legal entity. we have to end soon, but you are an interesting figure because you have always made a point of saying you don't belong to a party. we have spoken to the leader of one of the main opposition parties. i met the family of leopoldo lopez, who is back in prison, another significant leader of the opposition movement. these are established party people, but who do you think can be the venezuelan who can somehow build bridges between the polarised elements within your society, and stop your country falling into conflict and possibly civil war? who is it? well, falling into conflict and possibly civilwar? who is it? well, i think it is every venezuelan. it is not only one person. we should not try to personalise this, but try to listen to the voices in the streets. they are asking maduro to leave his
post, first thing, and second, they are asking the opposition not to negotiate. not to go to elections, because they are fraudulent, and it would be recognising this unconstitutional constituent assembly, and they must listen to the people in the street. this is the people in the street. this is the real venezuela. yes, the people in the street. this is the realvenezuela. yes, but the people need leadership. where the leadership? well, leadership you can find in very different places, but for certain, the real leadership is in the streets and that is... evidence has shown on why this is the change right now. and are you going to leave miami and go back to fight for your country's future inside venezuela? i am ready to do whatever it takes. that is why i have not applied for political asylum, so that i can be free to travel to venezuela, or wherever my country needs me. so i am ready to fight. isaias medina, ithank country needs me. so i am ready to fight. isaias medina, i thank you very much for being on hardtalk.
thank you, stephen. hello there. much of the country was fine and dry, with some good, sunny spells on wednesday. but it was atrocious across the south—east, cold and wet, like this weather watcher behind me depicts of central london. the rain has been slowly petering out, and as we start thursday morning with largely clear skies and light winds, it's going to be a chilly one. temperatures out of town in single figures, widely, across the uk. maybe a little bit of mist and fog in places, as well. that's because we've got a ridge of high pressure which will keep things largely fine and settled for thursday, this weather front which brought all the rain across the south—east on wednesday slowly clearing away.
we've also got another weather system slowly approaching the far north—west of the uk. so that will introduce a little bit of thicker cloud, and also a few spots of light rain across the far north and north—west of scotland. but, away from here, for much of scotland it is going to be a fine and a dry morning with some sunshine. same too for northern ireland. temperatures around ten to 13 degrees to start the day. for england and wales, is fine and dry. lots of sunshine around. the south—east, a little bit of cloud. just one or two showers there in across kent, and quite a strong northerly breeze, too, which will gradually ease down through the day. apart from a few heavy showers for kent, most places will be dry into the afternoon, as well. the winds will be increasing for the north—east of scotland. much warmer across the south—east compared to wednesday. so a good—looking day for the world championships athletics in the london stadium. it is going to be dry with some sunshine, temperatures around 21 or 22 degrees.
now, a fine end to the day as well for thursday. it looks like for england and wales, it is going to be another largely clear night, with light winds, so it is going to turn quite cool. but, for scotland and northern ireland, we will have an approaching weather system, so here turning wet and windy through the night, so here not quite as cool. soo for friday, then, well, we have got this weather system across northern and western areas. a nice, fine start, though, for central, southern and eastern parts of england. but even here, conditions will go downhill through the course of the day. so the rain will be heavy across western scotland and north—west england. northern and western wales, it will slowly move its way eastwards, eventually reaching the south—east later on. top temperatures 16 to 22 celsius again across the south—east. looks like friday night could be quite a wet, blustery one, as those weather systems clear away. and then as we head on towards the weekend, a big ridge of high pressure builds in. so it does mean for both saturday and sunday we're looking at a lot of fine and dry weather.
a little bit of cloud here and there, but some good sunny spells. feeling fairly cool, though, at night. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: ramping up the rhetoric. north korea announces what it calls a serious plan to target guam, as the us defence secretary says pyongyang's actions could result in the destruction of its people. kenya's electoral commission dismisses accusations its computer system was hacked. the opposition rejects the provisional results favouring president kenyatta. the captain of mexico's national football team is sanctioned by the us, and accused of ties to a drug—trafficking cartel. two months after the grenfell tower fire in west london, officials say hundreds of people need mental health support. trying to find a cure for type 1 diabetes — new hope from trials of a pioneering therapy that could eventually slow the advance of the disease.