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Rule of law and human rights in Cuba and Venezuela and EU engagement

11-12-2018

The European Parliament (EP) has consistently followed the situation in Cuba and Venezuela. It has expressed its support for defenders of human rights and democracy with the award of the Sakharov prize to Cuban activists on three occasions (2002, 2005, 2010), and to Venezuela’s Democratic Opposition in 2017. In line with this engagement, a workshop on human rights and rule of law in both countries was held on 6 September 2018, in Brussels, at the request of the EP’s Subcommittee on Human Rights ( ...

The European Parliament (EP) has consistently followed the situation in Cuba and Venezuela. It has expressed its support for defenders of human rights and democracy with the award of the Sakharov prize to Cuban activists on three occasions (2002, 2005, 2010), and to Venezuela’s Democratic Opposition in 2017. In line with this engagement, a workshop on human rights and rule of law in both countries was held on 6 September 2018, in Brussels, at the request of the EP’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). Dr. Par Engstrom (University College London) presented the first draft of an independent study analysing the main human rights developments in Cuba and Venezuela since 2014 and the EU’s response. The paper, which focused specifically on the Sakharov laureates, was discussed with Members and other experts, including from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European External Action Service and the European Commission. During the lively discussion, there was broad agreement with the description of major trends in the human rights situation in the two countries. Critical comments and controversial issues related to the impact of the government’s repression of the Venezuelan opposition, the need to consider not only civil and political but also economic and social rights, the effectiveness of sanctions against Venezuela and the potential role of the Sakharov Prize. Observations and comments made during the workshop fed into the final version of the study, which is also included in this report.

External author

Par ENGSTROM; Giulia BONACQUISTI

Venezuela: The standoff continues

12-04-2019

Three months since Juan Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela and won official recognition from over 50 countries, his standoff with Nicolás Maduro continues, as the Chavista regime steps up its pressure on the opposition. The outcome is uncertain, but some progress has been made on the humanitarian front.

Three months since Juan Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela and won official recognition from over 50 countries, his standoff with Nicolás Maduro continues, as the Chavista regime steps up its pressure on the opposition. The outcome is uncertain, but some progress has been made on the humanitarian front.

Continuing political crisis in Venezuela

03-03-2020

One year after Juan Guaidó's self-proclamation as interim President of Venezuela, the political crisis affecting the country is far from over, as shown by the government's latest failed attempt to neutralise the opposition forces in the National Assembly. The legislative election announced by Nicolas Maduro for 2020 will not improve the country's political situation unless it is accompanied by a free and fair presidential election.

One year after Juan Guaidó's self-proclamation as interim President of Venezuela, the political crisis affecting the country is far from over, as shown by the government's latest failed attempt to neutralise the opposition forces in the National Assembly. The legislative election announced by Nicolas Maduro for 2020 will not improve the country's political situation unless it is accompanied by a free and fair presidential election.

Venezuela [What Think Tanks are thinking]

01-03-2019

The situation in Venezuela appears to be approaching a tipping-point, as President Nicolas Maduro faces growing international and domestic pressure to relinquish power to National Assembly leader and self-proclaimed acting President Juan Guaidó. The latter is recognised by many Western countries as the legitimate interim leader of the oil-rich Latin American country, which has seen its economy undermined by mismanagement and corruption. Maduro, political heir to Hugo Chávez, is backed by China, Russia ...

The situation in Venezuela appears to be approaching a tipping-point, as President Nicolas Maduro faces growing international and domestic pressure to relinquish power to National Assembly leader and self-proclaimed acting President Juan Guaidó. The latter is recognised by many Western countries as the legitimate interim leader of the oil-rich Latin American country, which has seen its economy undermined by mismanagement and corruption. Maduro, political heir to Hugo Chávez, is backed by China, Russia and the country’s military. He has recently ordered troops to block the opposition’s US-backed attempt to bring in aid to the country, leading to violent clashes. To date, some 3.4 million Venezuelans have left the country to escape the crisis. The European Parliament has already adopted a non-binding resolution that recognised Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim President of Venezuela. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the situation in Venezuela .

The political crisis in Venezuela

07-12-2017

In December 2015, the results of elections to the Venezuelan National Assembly saw the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition (MUD) prevail by a wide majority over the ruling Socialist Unified Party of Venezuela (PSUV) of President Nicolás Maduro. Since then, Venezuela has faced increasing political crisis. Initiatives by the duly elected Parliament have been systematically blocked, first by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and the National Electoral Council, and since August 2017 by the new National ...

In December 2015, the results of elections to the Venezuelan National Assembly saw the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition (MUD) prevail by a wide majority over the ruling Socialist Unified Party of Venezuela (PSUV) of President Nicolás Maduro. Since then, Venezuela has faced increasing political crisis. Initiatives by the duly elected Parliament have been systematically blocked, first by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and the National Electoral Council, and since August 2017 by the new National Constituent Assembly, which has taken over most of the Parliament's legislative powers. Two attempts at dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, promoted by international mediators, have so far failed to break the deadlock. The economic and social situation in the country is far from improving, and the number of Venezuelan asylum-seekers abroad has risen exponentially. Nevertheless, regional elections were finally held on 15 October 2017 – with a PSUV victory in 17 of the 23 Venezuelan states, amid accusations of fraud from the opposition – and the government has promised to go ahead with the presidential elections due in 2018. This is an update of a briefing published in October 2017.

Venezuela: An unexpected turn of events

07-02-2019

The election of Juan Guaidó as president of the National Assembly and his subsequent self-proclamation as interim President of Venezuela has brought an unexpected turn to political events in the country and revived hopes for change both at home and abroad. Not only has Guaidó rallied massive popular support among Venezuelans, he has also obtained official recognition from the USA and most countries in the region. The European Parliament and 19 EU Member States have also recognised Guaidó as the legitimate ...

The election of Juan Guaidó as president of the National Assembly and his subsequent self-proclamation as interim President of Venezuela has brought an unexpected turn to political events in the country and revived hopes for change both at home and abroad. Not only has Guaidó rallied massive popular support among Venezuelans, he has also obtained official recognition from the USA and most countries in the region. The European Parliament and 19 EU Member States have also recognised Guaidó as the legitimate interim President.

The Venezuelan migrant crisis: A growing emergency for the region

17-12-2018

Although the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has traditionally been a country of destination for migrants, around 2010 its migratory profile started to change to that of a country of origin. In fact, in the past few years migration away from Venezuela has reached massive levels, creating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the region. According to the United Nations' International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of Venezuelans abroad has risen from under 700 000 in 2015 to 3 million ...

Although the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has traditionally been a country of destination for migrants, around 2010 its migratory profile started to change to that of a country of origin. In fact, in the past few years migration away from Venezuela has reached massive levels, creating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the region. According to the United Nations' International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of Venezuelans abroad has risen from under 700 000 in 2015 to 3 million in November 2018. About 70 % of this human wave has been directed to South American countries such as Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, but also to North and Central America and the Caribbean, and even Europe. The main factors contributing to this exodus are Venezuela's deteriorating political situation, a severe economic crisis and increasing violence. This mass migration could have a destabilising effect on the main recipient and transit countries. Besides individual responses developed by host countries to provide migrants with emergency assistance and protection and to facilitate their integration, Latin American countries are trying to give a coordinated regional response to the crisis. Furthermore, migration authorities, ombudsmen and NGOs have also promoted regional initiatives to defend the rights of Venezuelan migrants abroad and their access to basic services. The UN and regional organisations are also working to help deal with the crisis, and the EU is contributing €35.1 million in emergency aid and medium-term development assistance for the Venezuelan people and the affected neighbouring countries. The European Parliament sent an ad hoc mission to Brazil and Colombia in June 2018 to assess the situation, and has adopted resolutions on the subject.

Venezuela: political parties

30-04-2015

The political party system established in Venezuela in 1958 by the Punto Fijo Pact, and dominated by the Democratic Alliance and COPEI parties, collapsed in 1998 with the victory of Hugo Chavez in the presidential elections. Since then, and after the 1999 Constitutional reform, Chavismo has dominated Venezuelan politics, though the opposition parties have united as the MUD coalition.

The political party system established in Venezuela in 1958 by the Punto Fijo Pact, and dominated by the Democratic Alliance and COPEI parties, collapsed in 1998 with the victory of Hugo Chavez in the presidential elections. Since then, and after the 1999 Constitutional reform, Chavismo has dominated Venezuelan politics, though the opposition parties have united as the MUD coalition.

Venezuela: Human rights situation

06-05-2015

PDF Version The human rights situation in Venezuela has deteriorated significantly, due to increased political confrontation and an economy in rapid decline. Criticism regarding human rights from non-governmental, regional and international organisations has intensified. The government, while it has admitted some abuse, has done little to hold those responsible to account.

PDF Version The human rights situation in Venezuela has deteriorated significantly, due to increased political confrontation and an economy in rapid decline. Criticism regarding human rights from non-governmental, regional and international organisations has intensified. The government, while it has admitted some abuse, has done little to hold those responsible to account.

EU trade with Latin America and the Caribbean: Overview and figures

16-12-2019

Collectively, the 33 countries forming the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are the EU's fifth largest trading partner. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three countries of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and agreements with Mexico and Chile that are in the process of being modernised. Furthermore, the EU has inter-regional and bilateral framework ...

Collectively, the 33 countries forming the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are the EU's fifth largest trading partner. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three countries of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and agreements with Mexico and Chile that are in the process of being modernised. Furthermore, the EU has inter-regional and bilateral framework agreements with both Mercosur and its individual members. The EU's agreements governing trade relations with Latin American and Caribbean subgroupings and individual countries differ considerably in terms of coverage and methodology, depending on the time at which they were concluded and the backdrop to the negotiations. The EU is currently modernising the trade pillars of its agreements with Mexico (an 'agreement in principle' was reached in April 2018) and Chile (negotiations are still ongoing) in order to align them to the current standards of EU FTAs. If the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, which includes a trade pillar for which a political agreement was reached in June 2019, is successfully ratified, the EU would then have comprehensive agreements governing trade relations with nearly all of Latin America and the Caribbean (with the exception of Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela).

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