Venezuela crisis: MEPs call on EU to step up humanitarian aid

Written by Martin Banks on 8 August 2018 in News

Parliament is urging Venezuela to allow in humanitarian aid and the EU to release more funds to help Venezuelans fleeing the country.

Photo credit: Press Association

This comes after an apparent drone assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Saturday.

Maduro survived the assault, during which drones armed with explosives flew toward him as he spoke at a military parade in the capital, an attack he blamed on far-right elements and then-Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, whose term ended on Tuesday.

Attackers used two DJI M600 drones, each carrying a kilogram of C-4 explosives. An investigation into the attack has been launched.

MEPs say they are “shocked and alarmed” by the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, which has led to many deaths and an unprecedented flow of refugees and migrants to neighbouring countries.

“Regrettably, the Venezuelan government remains obstinate in its denial of the problem”, say the MEPs, who have now urged Venezuela to “prevent further deterioration and allow unimpeded humanitarian aid into the country as a matter of urgency.”

A delegation of MEPs visited the country at the end of June.

Colombia, Brazil and other countries have been commended for their help and solidarity in helping Venezuelan refugees and migrants, but MEPs urge EU member states to provide “immediate protection-oriented responses”. These could include humanitarian visas, special stay arrangements or other regional schemes.

Fresh EU humanitarian aid should be allocated in order to meet what are called the rapidly increasing needs of people affected by the Venezuelan crisis in neighbouring countries, they said.

Stressing that Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis stems from a political one, the MEPs called on the country to hold fresh presidential elections in accordance with internationally recognised democratic standards and the country’s constitutional order.

These, said the deputies, should take place “within a transparent, equal, fair and international monitoring framework, with no limitations on political parties or candidates and with full respect for the political rights of all Venezuelans.”

Recent elections, said MEPs, did not comply with the “minimum international standards for a credible process and failed to respect political pluralism, democracy, transparency and the rule of law, placing additional constraints on efforts to resolve the political crisis, notes the resolution.”

A legitimate government resulting from new elections must urgently address the current economic and social crisis in Venezuela and work towards national reconciliation, they added.

Over two million people have left Venezuela since 2014 due to an unprecedented political, social, economic and humanitarian crisis. Many lacked basics, such as access to food, drinking water, health services and medicines.

Colombia is hosting the biggest share of displaced people, with over 820,000 Venezuelans living on its territory. Brazil is also experiencing a major influx - at the current rate there will be more than 60,000 Venezuelans living there by the end of the year.

European countries, in particular Spain, Portugal and Italy, are also increasingly affected.

On 7 June the Commission announced a package of €35.1m in emergency aid and development assistance to support the Venezuelan people and the neighbourhood countries affected by the crisis, adding to the €37m that the EU has already committed to humanitarian aid and cooperation projects in the country.

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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