EU leaders voice concern over political crisis in Venezuela

Written by Martin Banks on 25 January 2019 in News
News

EU leaders have expressed concern about the current “dramatic” protests taking place in Venezuela.

Nicolás Maduro | Photo credit: Press Association


EU leaders have added their voices to growing international concern over the political crisis in Venezuela, where opposition leader Juan Guaidó has said he would consider an amnesty for President Nicolás Maduro if he cedes power.

Maduro began a second term after recent polls marred by an opposition boycott and vote-rigging claims.

Guaidó declared himself interim president on Wednesday and said he was reaching out to all sectors, including the military, to end the crisis.


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The global community is split on whether to recognise his government but so far Maduro retains the crucial support of Venezuela's military.

On Friday, the EU pitched into the debate about the crisis with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani saying, “It is clear that the Venezuelan people are fed up with the illegitimate regime of Maduro that did not win the presidency in free and fair elections and clings to power while imprisoning the opposition.”

"In the face of general discontent, Maduro has to go now," Tajani added.

Parliament will discuss the situation in Venezuela and adopt a further urgent resolution on the subject during next week’s mini plenary session in Brussels.

"It is clear that the Venezuelan people are fed up with the illegitimate regime of Maduro that did not win the presidency in free and fair elections … In the face of general discontent, Maduro has to go now" Antonio Tajani

This is the ninth resolution on the country since the beginning of the legislature. No other country has received such attention.

After speaking with Guaidó on 9 January, Tajani has spoken with him again by telephone, reiterating the support of the European Parliament.

"Juan Guaidó is the only institutional interlocutor in Venezuela because he is the one who enjoys democratic legitimacy. I am in contact with him and we are following events in Venezuela very closely.”

“We are very concerned with the risks of violence and the repression of the regime in the face of massive protest marches.”

"A peaceful transition of power must be prepared through free and credible elections. The European Union and the rest of the international community must provide the means and their experience to accompany this transition, which will result in a return to democracy as soon as possible," Tajani added.

Further comment on Friday came from the EU’s High Representative Federica Mogherini who said, “The people of Venezuela have massively called for democracy and the possibility to freely determine their own destiny. These voices cannot be ignored. The EU strongly calls for the start of an immediate political process leading to free and credible elections, in conformity with the constitutional order.”

She added, “The EU fully supports the national assembly as the democratically-elected institution whose powers need to be restored and respected. The civil rights, freedom and safety of all members of the National Assembly, including Juan Guaidó, need to be observed and fully respected.”

"The civil rights, freedom and safety of all members of the National Assembly, including Juan Guaidó, need to be observed and fully respected” Federica Mogherini

“Violence and the excessive use of force by security forces are completely unacceptable, and will, for sure, not resolve the crisis. The Venezuelan people have the right to peacefully demonstrate, to freely chose its leaders and decide its future.”

“The European Union and its Member States remain ready to support the restoration of democracy and rule of law in Venezuela through a credible peaceful political process in line with the Venezuelan constitution,” Mogherini added.

MEPs have also spoken out about events in the country, with GUE/NGL demanding “strong condemnation” of the coup.

The group called on the EU “to respect international law - namely the UN Charter principles - as well as the principle of non-intervention as expressed in their own recent communication regarding the situation on Venezuela.”

A statement said, “GUE/NGL condemns the increased escalation of political interference, economic and financial blockade, diplomatic destabilisation and the continuing threats promoted by the US, the self-denominated Lima Group and the EU against Venezuela.”

“We call for the lifting of economic and financial sanctions against Venezuela which have strongly contributed to the deterioration of the country’s economy.”

“GUE/NGL stands for the respect of the Venezuelan people's will and human rights. It calls on the EU to not follow the irresponsible strategy taken by the US President, Donald Trump, and some countries from the so-called Lima Group which pretend to legitimise a foreign intervention in Venezuela instead of supporting and promoting peaceful and dialogued solutions to the situation.”

The statement concluded, “Today, it is more necessary than ever that the EU stands firm in supporting the rule of law in Venezuela, and to support the invitation made by Nicolás Maduro, in calling for the immediate convening of broad national political dialogues, recalling that any solution to the current political and economic situation must be solved by its national citizens - in line and in respect with its own legal framework and constitution.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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