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01/14/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/14/2020 09:48

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Venezuela after the attempt to illegally elect the new National Assembly Presidency and Bureau (parliamentary coup) - B9-0049/2020

B9‑0049/2020

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Venezuela after the attempt to illegally elect the new National Assembly Presidency and Bureau (parliamentary coup)

(2020/2507(RSP))

The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Venezuela, of 27 February 2014 on the situation in Venezuela[1], of 18 December 2014 on the persecution of the democratic opposition in Venezuela[2], of 12 March 2015 on the situation in Venezuela[3], of 8 June 2016 on the situation in Venezuela[4], of 27 April 2017 on the situation in Venezuela[5], of 8 February 2018 on the situation in Venezuela[6], of 3 May 2018 on the elections in Venezuela[7], of 5 July 2018 on the migration crisis and the humanitarian situation in Venezuela and its terrestrial borders with Colombia and Brazil[8], of 25 October 2018 on the situation in Venezuela[9], of 31 January 2019 on the situation in Venezuela[10], in which Guaidó is recognised as interim president of Venezuela, of 28 March 2019 on the emergency situation in Venezuela[11], of 18 July 2019 on the situation in Venezuela[12],- having regard to the Declaration of 9 January 2020 of the International Contact Group (ICG) supporting Juan Guaidó as President of the National Assembly, and deeming the election of Luis Parra illegitimate and undemocratic,

- having regard to the statement of 5 January 2020 by the Spokesperson for the European External Action Service stating that the events surrounding the elections on Sunday 5 January were marked by serious irregularities and acts against the democratic and constitutional functioning of the National Assembly, preventing the National Assembly as the legitimate democratic body in Venezuela from being able to fulfil the mandate it received from the Venezuelan people,

- having regard to the statement of the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States on the situation in Venezuela of 5 January 2020,

- having regard to the statement of 21 December 2019 of the newly appointed Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Josep Borrell,

- having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/1893 of 11 November 2019 amending Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela[13], extending the sanctions against Venezuela for a year in light of the current political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela with persistent actions that undermine democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights,

- having regard to the aforementioned Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/1893 of 11 November 2019 by which it decided to include a new provision in Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074 regarding restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela whereby the Council and the High Representative (VP/HR) are designated 'responsible for the processing' of personal data, in particular in relation to the list of natural persons responsible for violations, serious human rights violations or repression of civil society and the democratic opposition in Venezuela; in relation to the list of natural persons whose actions, policies or activities otherwise undermine democracy or the rule of law in Venezuela; in relation to natural or legal persons, entities or bodies responsible for violations or serious abuses of human rights or the repression of civil society and the democratic opposition in Venezuela; and in relation to natural or legal persons, entities or organisations whose actions, policies or activities otherwise undermine democracy or the rule of law in Venezuela[14],

- having regard to the Council decision of 27 September 2019 in which the EU adds seven members of the Venezuelan security and intelligence forces involved in torture and other serious human rights violations to the sanctions list,

- having regard to the report on Venezuela of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of 4 July 2019, and the oral update made at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council held in Geneva on 9 September 2019,

- having regard to the statement of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 18 June 2019 in which the EU underlines its deep concern over the worsening of the political and humanitarian situation in Venezuela,

- having regard to the statement of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 4 April 2019 on the decision taken by the non-recognised National Assembly to withdraw the parliamentary immunity to Juan Guaidó,

- having regard to the statements of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on Venezuela on 10 January 2019, 26 January 2019, 24 February, 2019 and 28 March 2019,

- having regard to the statement of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 2 March 2019 in which the EU insists that any measure that could jeopardise the freedom, security or personal safety of Juan Guaidó would represent an escalation of tensions and would provoke the firm condemnation of the international community,

- having regard to the ratification by Venezuela of the Rome Statute on 7 June 2000,

- having regard to the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,

- having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the acts of violence perpetrated by the Government of Nicolás Maduro, the police, the national guard and the army to prevent the re-election of Juan Guaidó as President of the National Assembly in Venezuela, scheduled for January 5, prevented Maduro's opponents from entering the National Assembly and holding the session; whereas the armed forces and other security personnel blocked access to the building and prevented the press from entering, which constitutes yet another step in the escalation of violence and confrontation that has been steadily accelerating over recent years; whereas the Maduro government is undermining the authority and ability of the legitimate and democratic National Assembly to carry out its role and mandate, as given by Venezuelan citizens, effectively and unhindered;

B. whereas these events were preceded by a terror campaign and so-called 'operation Alacrán', consisting of the worrying purchase of votes by the government for amounts ranging between USD 500 000 and 1 million;

C. whereas the persecution and political harassment of opponents to the Maduro regime continues, and 22 deputies, including the President of the National Assembly, have been stripped of their parliamentary immunity, several have been arrested, while others have had to leave the country or become refugees in diplomatic representations;

D. whereas according to the Venezuelan organisation Foro Penal, political repression has increased, with 399 political prisoners currently being held, including at least eight European citizens, and more than 15 000 political detainees since 2014[15];

E. whereas the continuing use of severe coercion and force, reaffirmed by illegitimate President Nicolás Maduro's determination to continue to usurp power, constitutes a clear intention to crush any notion of legality;

F. whereas in its failed attempt to appoint a new President the pro-Maduro regime invoked Articles 7, 8 and 11 of the Interior and Debate Regulations of the National Assembly and Article 221 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;

G. whereas despite the efforts of the de facto Government of Venezuela to prevent a transparent and peaceful electoral process, parliamentarians outside the National Assembly gained access to the building, and formally re-elected Juan Guaidó as President;

H. whereas 100 of the 167 parliamentarians gathered in an extraordinary session at the headquarters of El Nacionalnewspaper were ultimately able to comply with the requirements in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, elected the Board of Directors of the National Assembly, and elected Juan Guaidó as President of the National Assembly, swearing him in to office in accordance with the Constitution;

I. whereas these events are occuring in an already devastated Venezuela where an escalation of violence and grave violations of human rights by the de facto government of Nicolás Maduro are further aggravating the current political, economic, institutional and social humanitarian crisis situation, with more than 5 million Venezuelans forced to leave their country, a growing shortage of medicines and food, and hyperinflation;

J. whereas the mediation dialogue initiated on 16 May 2018 between de facto president Nicolás Maduro and the opposition forces, led by Juan Guaidó, and moderated by Norway has not resulted in a solution to the crisis, which, quite the contrary, has worsened; whereas, on 8 July 2019 dialogue resumed in Barbados, although the de facto government did not meet the necessary requirements to initiate a dialogue;

1. Condemns the repressive acts of the de facto government of Nicolás Maduro to eliminate - once again - all traces of illegality; condemns further the indiscriminate and continuous use of coercion and force, and the confirmation in power of a fraudulent and illegitimate president;

2. Reiterates its grave concern at the escalation of violence and the serious emergency situation in Venezuela, with citizens' lives seriously threatened;

3. Underlines that the Nicolás Maduro regime has become the most volatile and significant security and stability threat for the subcontinent, threatening the integrity and stability of its neighbouring countries;

4. Recalls that local authorities arrested the Venezuelans accused of being sent by the Venezuelan regime to participate in and carry out mass mobilisation efforts to promote destabilisation and violation of human rights in those regions;

5. Declares that the defence of the integrity, accuracy and transparency of electoral processes is fundamental, especially after several cases of alleged or clear manipulation, assorted irregularities and fraud in various elections in Latin American democracies; regrets that fraudulent elections provoke protests and clashes that result in the death of innocent people, and expresses its solidarity with the people of Venezuela;

6. Insists on the need to take measures against the Venezuela-Iran alliance, the worst instance of which is the misuse of Venezuela by Hezbollah as a platform for its activities and strategic expansionism throughout Latin America by means of numerous illegal activities, including money laundering;

7. Expresses great concern at Russia's support for the Venezuelan Maduro regime and, in particular, the dispatching of experts, military and technical advisors;

8. Expresses its concern at the fact that Cuban police forces and military intelligence are the strategic element that has made it possible for Maduro's illegal regime to remain in power, which constitutes intolerable foreign political and military interference in Venezuela;

9. Calls on the Council, in light of a series of unsuccessful policies against the oppressive regime of Venezuela, which demonstrate the absolute impossibility of initiating a real democratisation process in Venezuela, to take the toughest possible measures and increase political pressure, while simultaneously enforcing sanctions and restrictive measures;

10. Calls on the Council to impose restrictive measures against this illegitimate regime, i.e. sanctions against all those involved in the repressive apparatus, and seizure of foreign assets owned by the illegitimate state authorities and persons responsible for the violations of human rights and repression of the democratic opposition, while always ensuring the safety of the general population;

11. Requests that the authorities of the European Union restrict the movements of these persons and those of their closest relatives by freezing their assets and suspending their visas;

12. Rejects Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/1893 of 11 November 2019, which includes a new provision that modifies Decision 2017/2074 by introducing a new arbitrary power for the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy with regard to the processing of data in relation to the list of natural persons responsible for violations or serious human rights abuses or repression of civil society and the democratic opposition in Venezuela, as well as the actions, policies or activities of natural or legal persons that are responsible for violations, serious abuses of human rights, undermining the rule of law and the repression of civil society, along with repression of the democratic opposition in Venezuela, according to Annexes I and II of CFSP decision 2017/2074;

13. Urges the European Union to join the initiative of States Parties to the ICC to investigate crimes against humanity committed by the de facto Government of Nicolás Maduro with a view to holding the perpetrators to account for these acts;

14. Supports the initiative to establish a commission of inquiry in cooperation with the United Nations Human Rights Council to determine individual responsibilities for the systematic violations of human rights in Venezuela;

15. Urges the de facto Government of Venezuela to quickly implement the recommendations listed in the OHCHR report on the situation of human rights in Venezuela;

16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the legitimate interim president of the Republic and the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the national parliaments and governments of the Lima Group, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States.

[15] www.foropenal.com is a civil association that provides pro bonolegal assistance to arbitrarily detained persons.