1. The Socialist International, at its Council meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on 26 and 27 November 2001, condemns the repeated attempts of the Venezuelan government to encroach on democratic institutions, as well as its frequent illegal actions in imposing new laws without the approval of the legislature (National Assembly), making a mockery of democracy and its institutions and establishing a harmful precedent which would appear to be the prelude to installing an authoritarian regime.
Equally, the International rejects the official persecution of opinions expressed by journalists and media close to the trade union movement, which has led to six complaints from Venezuelan organisations to international bodies, including the International Court of Human Rights, in defence of freedom of expression and against unfounded and repeated attacks on the mass media which are inimical to democracy and contravene the international agreements ratified by the government of that country.
2. The SI declares its vehement opposition to the Venezuelan government’s open interference in what should be free trade union activity and the right of workers to organise themselves democratically. It also calls on the National Electoral Council and other competent authorities to respect the wishes expressed by the workers in the local, regional and national elections of trade unions representing various industrial sectors, and in the election of the leadership of the Venezuelan Workers’ Confederation.
3. The SI, in view of the dangerous situation for democratic values and institutions in Venezuela and the worrying deterioration of government authority in that country, intends to follow events closely and contribute in all appropriate ways to the maintenance of a pluralistic political climate, respect for human rights and democratic institutions. At the same time, we support the civic struggle maintained by our member party, Acción Democrática, and by Venezuelan civil society in defence of these same values and principles.