Stop violence in Venezuela
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• The Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro was democratically elected in 2013 for a 6-year term;
• The Venezuelan opposition, led by extreme right groups with strong links to Colombian paramilitary forces, have activated a plan to overthrow the democratic elected government of President Nicolas Maduro, and have been responsible for the recent episodes of violence occurred in Venezuela resulting in killings and people injured;
• The violent extremist groups that operate inside the Venezuelan opposition and openly call for a “regime change”, have set buildings on fire, fired guns and randomly killed people; and attacked for 4 hours a maternity hospital endangering the lives of staff, mothers and newborn babies, among others;
• The opposition are backed by transnational interest groups that wants to topple the government and control the oil money as it did in the past when left the country with 80% of poverty;
• The government of President Nicolas Maduro has recently excelled in the OHCHR Universal Periodic Review and UNDP report, achieving the millennium goals and gaining a high level of human development; and has been praised by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization for the outstanding accomplishments in food security;
• The Venezuelan government has fully respected peaceful demonstrations, and acted according the law and the Constitution, always respecting all human rights;
• Venezuela will hold elections, as they are scheduled - as per the Constitution - for the regions this year and the presidency next year, since Venezuela is the country of the region that has had most elections: 18 in 17 years (presidential, regional, and a few referendums), having been praised by President Jimmy Carter, who has publicly stated that Venezuela’s electoral process is the best in the world;
• The elections in Venezuela are carried out by an independent entity - the Conseco National Electoral - that has constitutional power and is not accountable to the Executive Power;
• The opposition abandoned the dialogue process for peace and understanding with the government, brokered by the mediation of UNASUR, former presidents Rodriguez Zapatero from Spain, Manuel Torrijos from Panama and Leonel Fernandez from Dominican Republic, and Pope Francis;
• On the 19th of April, the international press did not report on the 3 million strong march in favour of the government - one of the three largest marches ever in the country, (the other two occurred during President Chavez's government), and have also failed to report on the violence carried out by the opposition;
• The economic downturn in Venezuela is due to the fall in oil prices, and the economic warfare orchestrated by the wealthy elite along with its corporate partners, by hoarding, smuggling and provoking the scarcity of products in a mixed economy where the distribution of foodstuffs is in the hands of large private monopolies;
• The government has countered the economic situation by subsidising basic food products and distributed them through popular councils, without implementing austerity policies;
• The opposition has used the economic problems as a reason to topple the government, which constitutes a dangerous precedent for all democratic governments in the region;
• Several governments in the region and the world have intervened in the internal affairs of Venezuela in a clear violation of its sovereignty and self-determination. Instead, the international community must assume a constructive approach, based on dialogue and mutual respect, fully respecting the Venezuelan sovereignty and self-determination of the Venezuelan people.
We, the undersigned:
1. Condemn the violent acts carried out by the Venezuelan opposition that, as it did in the past, have caused deaths, dozens of people injured and destruction;
2. Support the dialogue process between the government and the opposition, with the mediation of UNASUR, former presidents Rodriguez Zapatero from Spain, Manuel Torrijos from Panama and Leonel Fernandez from Dominican Republic, and Pope Francis;
3. Demand the opposition to behave responsibly and democratically, to stop plotting against the democratic elected government, to engage in the dialogue process and to respect the Constitution and the electoral schedule set by the Electoral Council.
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