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    Venezuela diplomat resigns to protest Maduro acts

    TOPSHOT - Opposition demonstrators run during clashes with riot police during an anti-government protest in Caracas, on July 20, 2017. A 24-hour nationwide strike got underway in Venezuela Thursday, in a bid by the opposition to increase pressure on beleaguered leftist President Nicolas Maduro following four months of deadly street demonstrations. / AFP PHOTO / RONALDO SCHEMIDTRONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images
    Opposition demonstrators ran during clashes with riot police during an antigovernment protest in Caracas on Thursday.

    UNITED NATIONS — Venezuelan diplomat Isaias Medina said he resigned because of the systematic persecution of civilians, ‘‘state terrorism,’’ and violations of the constitution by President Nicolas Maduro’s government — and he said Maduro should resign, too.

    Medina, an international lawyer who was a minister counselor at Venezuela’s UN Mission, said on Thursday night that the last 100 days, which have left more than 15,000 people injured and over 100 dead, ‘‘made a huge impact on me.’’

    He said he decided to resign ‘‘based on principles’’ because ‘‘it would be hypocritical to remain here not representing what the values of the UN Charter are.’’


    And he had a message for Maduro: ‘‘Leave the office so that a new government can take place and do their job.’’

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    ‘‘This is a failed state,’’ Medina said. ‘‘This is a fugitive government and a complete dictatorship. . . . Maduro does not have the right to be in that office.’’

    Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s UN ambassador, rejected Medina’s remarks and said the diplomat had been fired.

    ‘‘I condemn the conduct of Isaias Medina. We have immediately relieved him of his duties. He does not represent us. He has acted in a dishonest manner,’’ Ramirez said in one of two Thursday evening tweets on the matter.

    Medina said he worked as a lawyer, including in New York in the 1990s, and had been a diplomat for about two years and four months, almost all that time at the United Nations.


    He said he represented Venezuela on the General Assembly committee dealing with legal issues and was vice chairman for Latin America at last month’s first-ever UN conference on protecting the world’s oceans.

    ‘‘The violence and aggressive repression against students’’ was the final straw, he said, when asked what led him to resign.

    Medina said it was also ‘‘completely incoherent’’ for Venezuela to be a member of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council while violating human rights — and to be chairing the UN’s decolonization body ‘‘while not even allowing the self-determination of its own people.’’

    ‘‘The rule of law is so important, and this is why we need to bring the rule of law back,’’ he said.

    In a separate development Friday, Venezuela’s chief prosecutor said a 15-year-old boy and a 34-year-old man became the latest victims killed during antigovernment demonstrations, bringing the number killed during a 24-hour nationwide strike to four.


    Authorities said the teenager was killed during a protest Thursday in Zulia while Eury Hurtado was shot four times at a demonstration in Los Teques, a hotspot for opposition protests about 20 miles outside Caracas.

    The teen’s name and cause of death were not released.

    Authorities had previously announced the deaths of two other men during the strike.

    At least 97 have been killed in more than three months of political upheaval jolting the South American nation. Venezuela is plagued by triple-digit inflation, food and medical shortages and a homicide rate among the highest in the world.

    Medina said he wanted to wait until after the oceans conference, and after he got a passport, to resign.

    Getting a passport proved ‘‘very difficult,’’ he said, but it was crucial because he didn’t want to become stateless when he left his job.

    Medina said he signed his resignation and did a video on Thursday and then learned about Ramirez’s tweets saying he had been dismissed.

    ‘‘I respect his opinion but it makes me laugh,’’ Medina said. ‘‘How can he fire me after I resign? I guess it’s his choice. It doesn’t really matter to me.’’

    As for the future, he said he plans to ‘‘keep doing what I’m doing.’’

    ‘‘I’d like to raise more awareness of the situation in my country,’’ Medina said.

    He said he’s been an environmentalist for 30 years and is president of a non-governmental organization called which focuses on the health of the oceans and ‘‘changing climate change’’ — and he will continue that work.

    ‘‘I resigned my post. I’m free to come and go,’’ Medina said. ‘‘Now I have a passport and a [US] tourist visa for 10 years. I’ve had it for a long time, so I can come in and out.’’