Question No. 258
Parliamentary Question - Oireachtas
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the situation in Venezuela; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 11th July, 2017.
Ref No: 32299/17
I am deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, and in particular by the recent violent attacks against the democratically elected National Assembly.
While there have been long-running demonstrations in Venezuela, the past two months have seen almost daily mass-protests, resulting in dozens of deaths in clashes between security forces and opposition demonstrators. I reiterate that I condemn unreservedly any intimidation or violence perpetrated against those seeking to defend their rights, whether in Venezuela or elsewhere.
The situation in Venezuela was discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council on 15 May 2017. Ireland and other EU member States used this opportunity to publicly condemn the use of force in Venezuela and call for the fatalities of recent weeks to be fully investigated. We have urged both the Government and opposition to seek peaceful and democratic solutions to the crisis and have called on the Government to facilitate external agencies in addressing the urgent needs of the Venezuelan population, which is faced with a shortage of basic supplies such as food and medicines.
Ireland’s view is that the establishment of a clear electoral calendar and the full restoration of the country’s democratic institutions will be critical to achieving a settlement to the crisis and we have urged the Government to engage in dialogue with the National Assembly and other relevant parties. I am concerned that the recent proposal to establish a Constituent Assembly may further undermine the democratic role of the National Assembly.
While Ireland does not have diplomatic representation in Venezuela, officials at my Department and at our Embassy in Mexico, whose remit includes Venezuela, will continue to follow the situation closely and use any bilateral contacts with the government or opposition to urge a peaceful settlement to the crisis.