Declaration on Venezuela

Meeting of the SI Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1-2 April 2016

Original: Spanish

The Socialist International Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, meeting in Santo Domingo on 1-2 April 2016, expresses its deep concern at the Venezuelan political and institutional crisis resulting from of the attitude of the government of President Nicolás Maduro who has been promoting a power struggle by using the Supreme Court of Justice against the autonomous decisions of the Venezuelan Legislative Power, following the result obtained by the political organisations of the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), of a qualified majority of two thirds of the National Assembly, following the elections last December.

The Committee recalls that it is a principle of the Socialist International that no State can have political prisoners, least of all a democracy, and, in this sense, it expresses its satisfaction at the recent approval by the National Assembly of the Amnesty and Reconciliation Law. The Socialist International urges President Nicolás Maduro and all the Venezuelan institutions to recognise the sovereign decisions of the Assembly and not to hinder by any means the coming into force of this Law, which will allow the liberation of political leaders today held in jail, such as the former presidential candidate and leader of Partido Un Nuevo Tiempo, Manuel Rosales, the leader of Voluntad Popular, Leopoldo López, the Mayor Antonio Ledezma, the three members of parliament, Rosmit Mantilla, Gilberto Sojo and Renzo Pietro, elected on 6 December 2015, the students and many others who today remain unjustly in jail for political reasons, as well as the return of those in exile for political reasons, such as Carlos Ortega, Carlos Vecchio and Oscar Pérez among others.

The Socialist International rejects the undermining of the constitutional powers of the Venezuelan National Assembly by the Bolivarian government which, by means of the Supreme Court of Justice, makes rulings that violate the spirit of the Venezuelan National Constitution and compromises the values of the democratic system, which are based on the respect, the equilibrium and the autonomy of the powers of the state.

The Socialist International observes with concern the attacks on journalists and on editors of the independent media, and the use made by the state monopoly of the supplies of paper to the press in order to control information and freedom of expression.

The Socialist International calls on the Venezuelan Bolivarian government to concentrate their efforts in order to urgently resolve the grave problems and sufferings which today affect the Venezuelan people as a consequence of the crisis in hospitals and services and the food and medicine shortages that threaten to carry the country towards a humanitarian crisis of major proportions and serious consequences for future generations of Venezuelans. Therefore, the Socialist International calls on the government of Nicolás Maduro to engage in the dialogue that the National Assembly has unanimously convened as the only way towards reconciliation and to achieve solutions to the grave political, economic and social problems in the country today.