Venezuela : for an end to the violence

17 February 2014

The situation in Venezuela continues to be of serious concern for the international community. That in a democracy violence can reach the levels observed last week in Caracas and in other places of the country with people being killed and injured, opposition leaders being persecuted, with restrictions on freedoms, including the freedom of information, amongst others, point to the gravity of the situation in that country.

The Socialist International cannot remain indifferent in the search for more justice, equality and solidarity in societies marked by inequality, as we continue to see in that Latin American country. Nevertheless, we know through the experience of the political struggles of many of our own members, that it is not possible to achieve equality and justice if this effort is not accompanied by a deepening of the freedoms and respect for the rights of all people. The community of the new democracies in the world are testimony of the fact that the struggle for more justice and equality can never succeed at the cost of democracy and freedom.

In Venezuela, the Socialist International has regularly accompanied the electoral processes that have provided a mandate for the political authorities, and we have observed that those democratic exercises are not always reflected in the daily political life, which tends to be marked by tensions, disqualifications or the disrespect of fundamental rights and freedoms.

It is there that we can appreciate the fundamental reasons and causes of the critical situation of recent days. Violence, such as that carried out by irregular groups of individuals, as seen by millions of people on their TV screens, who, in full daylight, shot with impunity at demonstrators in the centre of Caracas, must immediately cease. The government authorities must contribute to creating a culture that replaces confrontation with dialogue and negotiation, as happens in nations living in democracy.

There is only one Venezuela, despite of the different visions of it which exist among its various interlocutors; it is a Venezuela which urgently needs to put an end to violence, and we know very well that this is achieved by respecting the rights of all, and today this is without doubt a critical responsibility of the government.

Venezuela needs the dialogue that comes with democracy, and to urgently find once again its institutional and juridical strength which is achieved when all its citizens enjoy their full rights and freedoms.

The Socialist International, which is following developments in the political life of Venezuela day by day and has condemned unreservedly the deaths of the three demonstrators last week, continues to hope that a constructive and respectful dialogue can be initiated in the interest of all Venezuela, in order to be able to overcome the future challenges that are today of concern to all Venezuelans.