Procedure : 2018/2559(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0081/2018

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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0078/2018

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the situation in Venezuela (2018/2559(RSP))

Charles Tannock, Karol Karski, Monica Macovei, Ruža Tomašić, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner, Angel Dzhambazki, Jan Zahradil, Jana Žitňanská, Arne Gericke, Hans-Olaf Henkel, Valdemar Tomaševski, Branislav Škripek on behalf of the ECR Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Venezuela (2018/2559(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its numerous previous resolutions on the situation in Venezuela,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Venezuela is a party,

–  having regard to the Inter-American Democratic Charter adopted on 11 September 2001,

–  having regard to the Constitution of Venezuela, in particular Articles 72 and 233 thereof,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 13 November 2017 on the situation in Venezuela, notably the ban on arms and equipment for internal repression, including a framework for targeted restrictive measures,

–  having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council meeting of 22 January 2018 and its decision to impose restrictive measures on seven individuals holding official positions in the Venezuelan administration,

–  having regard to the statement of 26 January 2018 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini, on the worsening situation in Venezuela,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the situation in Venezuela has continued to deteriorate since April 2017, most notably in connection with the announcement by President Nicolas Maduro on 10 December 2017 that those opposition parties that had boycotted the local municipal elections ‘were no longer part’ of the political landscape and would not be allowed to participate in the presidential elections in April 2018;

B.  whereas the municipal elections earlier in December 2017 were marred by protests and violent crackdowns by Venezuelan security forces; whereas President Maduro formally announced on 11 December that the ruling Socialist Party had won over 90 % of the 335 municipal mayorships contested in the elections; whereas it is not at all evident that the elections were contested freely or fairly;

C.  whereas, in an attempt to circumvent current financial sanctions imposed on Venezuela, President Maduro’s Government has introduced a ‘petro-based’ digital cryptocurrency backed by oil reserves, the efficacy of which in alleviating the economic situation in the country remains to be seen;

D.  whereas the National Assembly of Venezuela was formally stripped of its powers and replaced by the Constituent Assembly of Venezuela in August 2017, following elections marred by protests and violent crackdowns by security forces; whereas the Constituent Assembly is intended to be a legislative super-body able to grant President Maduro the power to rewrite the constitution and effectively bypass the opposition-led National Assembly;

E.  whereas Venezuela’s opposition coalition, the ‘Mesa de la Unidad Democrática’, with 112 seats in the 167-member unicameral National Assembly, held an overwhelming majority over the ruling Socialist Party, with 55 seats;

F.  whereas the elections under which the Constituent Assembly rose to power were not recognised by the European Union on the grounds that they were characterised by violence, instability and undemocratic practices, and that the state of good governance and democratic rule of law in Venezuela have regressed considerably as a result;

G.  whereas the United States has formally imposed sanctions on President Maduro, and whereas several Member States have called for similar sanctions to be imposed by the EU in response to the continued imprisonment of dissidents and political opposition members, to the actions of the Constituent Assembly and to the general regression of the rule of law in Venezuela;

H.  whereas over a hundred members of the political opposition, along with journalists, activists and protestors, remain political prisoners in Venezuela, including major political leaders such as Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos and Yon Goicoechea;

I.  whereas the Venezuelan security forces, including the national guard, the national police and irregular armed groups, have, since the protests began in 2016 through December 2017, repeatedly used brutal force against peaceful protesters, including Members of Congress, arresting many and leaving more than 20 dead and many wounded;

1.  Condemns in the strongest terms the continued violation of the democratic order in Venezuela, most notably the usurpation of the National Assembly by the Constituent Assembly, leading to the unconstitutional centralisation of powers and breaching the independence of the branches of government; strongly rejects the creation of the Constituent Assembly, which it considers a fundamentally undemocratic instrument;

2.  Deplores the announcement by President Maduro that opposition political parties will be banned from forthcoming presidential elections in April 2018; recalls that free, fair and open elections are the cornerstone of a democratic society;

3.  Considers it essential that the Government of Venezuela ensure the full restoration of the democratic order, restore the separation and independence of governmental branches, enact the restitution of powers to a balanced and representative National Assembly comprising members from all political parties and, furthermore, restore full constitutional authority to the National Assembly; recalls that separation and non-interference between the branches of government is an essential principle of democratic states guided by the rule of law;

4.  Calls on the Venezuelan Government to release, immediately and unconditionally, all political prisoners; recalls that the freeing of political prisoners was approved by the former National Assembly through the Law of National Reconciliation; stresses that there can be no durable peaceful solution for Venezuela in the long term if there are political prisoners;

5.  Strongly condemns the Venezuelan national contraloría’s decision to ban the opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding political office for 15 years; calls on the Venezuelan Government to put an end to the practice of side-lining opposition leaders by depriving them of their political rights;

6.  Welcomes the resolution adopted by the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS) on 3 April 2017, and calls on the VP/HR to support this measure, and the will expressed by many countries of the region,to facilitate a mediation process with a view to reaching a national agreement; calls also on the VP/HR to explore actively, together with international and regional organisations, other measures whereby the EU can help restore Venezuela to full democracy;

7.  Welcomes the decision of the Foreign Affairs Council to impose restrictive measures on seven individuals holding official positions in the Venezuelan Administration;

8.  Strongly condemns the brutal repression, by Venezuelan security forces and irregular armed groups, of peaceful protesters, resulting in the deaths of more than 20 individuals and many wounded and arrested;

9.  Calls on the Venezuelan Government to investigate these deaths at the hands of the military and to respect and guarantee the constitutional right of freedom of peaceful assembly; calls on the Venezuelan authorities to guarantee the security and free exercise of rights of all citizens, in particular human rights defenders, journalists, political activists and members of independent non-governmental organisations, who are at greater risk of attack and arbitrary detention, and to investigate all deaths;

10.  Calls on the Venezuelan authorities to allow humanitarian aid into the country as a matter of urgency, and to grant access to international organisations wishing to assist the worst affected sectors of society;

11.  Reiterates its urgent request for a Parliament delegation to be sent to Venezuela as soon as possible and to hold a dialogue with all parties involved in the conflict;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States.

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