To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on recent events in Venezuela; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 12th April, 2017.
Ref No: 18292/17
I am deeply concerned by the situation in Venezuela following rulings on 28 and 29 March by the country’s Supreme Court which rescinded the constitutional powers of the democratically elected National Assembly of Venezuela. Venezuela is facing grave and deteriorating political, economic, and social crises.
While domestic and international pressure led to the rescinding last week of most of the rulings of the Supreme Court, it remains the case that the Court has declared the National Assembly as being in contempt of the constitution and ruled that legislation passed by the National Assembly is null and void. This order which has been in place since August 2016 undermines the core democratic principle of the separation of powers.
I reiterate the European Union’s call for all parties in Venezuela to respect the country’s constitution and the role of the National Assembly, as well as democratic principles and the rule of law. My EU counterparts and I discussed Venezuela at the recent Foreign Affairs Council and we agreed on the importance of a peaceful solution to the current crisis. Critical to this is the establishment of a clear electoral calendar. In this context I welcome the resolution passed unanimously by the Organisation of American States on 3 April urging action by the Venezuelan government to ensure the full restoration of democratic order and share the grave concern expressed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at restrictions on freedom of movement, association expression and peaceful protest in Venezuela.
I am alarmed by the shortages of food and medicines being faced by the people of Venezuela, and the unacceptable level of violence used by Government authorities in recent days against protesters and in particular against democratically elected opposition Deputies attempting to reach the National Assembly building.
The Government of Venezuela must restore the country’s democratic institutions and work together with the National Assembly and other national actors to address the many serious challenges facing the country.