Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the situation in Venezuela
Lead EEAS spokesperson
Declaration of the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the EU on the situation in Venezuela ahead of the election for the Constituent Assembly on 30 July 2017
The escalation of political tension and violence in Venezuela has already claimed too many lives and caused countless injuries in the almost daily demonstrations. It is high time to put an end to the violence. The numerous reports of human rights violations, excessive use of force, massive detentions and trials of civilians by military courts are of concern. The EU expects the Venezuelan authorities to respect the Constitution and the rule of law and to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to peaceful demonstration, are guaranteed.
Respect for the National Assembly as the legitimate legislative body and the independence of the Attorney General, who should be able to act in an unfettered way, without fear of intimidation or threat, are crucial to preserve the confidence of the citizens in the State and in the judicial system.
All public authorities and all political actors should live up to their responsibilities. The people of Venezuela are living in very difficult conditions, with severe shortages of food and medicines. Commonly agreed solutions are needed urgently to alleviate the plight of the people.
The convening of a Constituent Assembly is disputed within Venezuelan society and therefore risks further polarizing the country and heightening the risk of confrontation. As with the transfer of Leopoldo López from prison to house arrest, the Government should consider urgent confidence-building measures before July 30th, aimed at de-escalating tensions and fostering better conditions for the resumption of efforts towards a peaceful negotiated solution.
The EU calls upon the Government and the opposition to reopen channels of dialogue and restart serious political negotiations in the interest of the country as a whole.
In this context, the EU encourages and stands ready to support in every way possible the creation of a regional "group of friends", accepted by the government and the opposition, to help the endeavours of political actors in Venezuela to find a peaceful, democratic and inclusive solution to the crisis in the country. In doing so, it will not be possible to dispense with the four essential conditions for any successful understanding: respect for the separation of powers, release of jailed political opponents, external cooperation to address the most urgent needs of the population, a clear calendar for the elections which are constitutionally due, so that the Venezuelan people can express their will through free, direct and universal suffrage.
The EU reiterates its readiness to cooperate with the Venezuelan authorities to ensure assistance, protection and security of all European citizens in Venezuela.
The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this Declaration.
*The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.