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Motion for a resolution on the situation in Venezuela – B8-2016-0726

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Chapter 1, Article 1(2) of the UN Charter of 1945, with its stated purpose ‘to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace’,

–  having regard to Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which state that ‘all peoples have the right of self-determination’ and that ‘by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development’,

–  having regard to the declaration of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the EU-27 of January 2013, in which the signatories reaffirmed their commitment to all the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and their support for all efforts to uphold the sovereign equality of all states and to respect their territorial integrity and political independence,

–  having regard to the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, agreed at the CELAC summits held in Havana (Cuba) in 2014, Belén (Costa Rica) in 2015 and Quito (Ecuador) in 2016,

–  having regard to the Political Declaration and the Brussels Declaration of the EU‑CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government of 10 and 11 June 2015, in which the signatories reaffirmed their commitment to all the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and also reaffirmed their decision to support all efforts to uphold the sovereign equality of all states, to respect their territorial integrity and political independence, and to uphold the resolution of disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with justice and international law, and noting that CELAC has declared Latin America and the Caribbean to be a Zone of Peace,

–  having regard to the principle of non-intervention laid down in the UN Charter,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the re-election of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as a member of the UN Human Rights Council in October 2015 and to the conclusions of the last Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review on Venezuela,

–  having regard to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961,

–  having regard to the previous statement of 23 May 2016 by the Secretary-General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) following the UNASUR visit to Venezuela,

–  having regard to the statement of 21 May 2016 by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki‑moon,

–  having regard to the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela regarding the constitutionality of Decree No 2323 concerning the state of emergency and economic emergency approved by the government,

–  having regard to the initiative taken by President Nicolás Maduro to create and promote the Commission of Truth and Reparation for Victims of Violence, in accordance with the rule of law and respect for the constitutional framework,

–  having regard to the previous statements on the situation in Venezuela by Mercosur, UNASUR and CELAC, and in particular to ‘‘‘the declarations by all three organisations rejecting the USA’s unilateral coercive measures against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,

–  having regard to the statements on Venezuela by the Argentinian Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and by Pope Francis,

–  having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy on Venezuela, in particular the most recent statement by her spokesperson, of 24 February 2015,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Venezuela, in particular those of 24 May 2007(1), 23 October 2008(2), 7 May 2009(3), 11 February 2010(4), 8 July 2010(5), 24 May 2012(6), 27 February 2014(7), 18 December 2014(8) and 9 March 2015(9),

–  having regard to the official communication from the Secretary-General of UNASUR of 28 May 2016 and the earlier statements by Leonel Fernández, the former President of the Dominican Republic, during a visit by an economic team from Venezuela,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas an economic war has been waged by some sectors in Venezuela and increasingly so in the last few months, by means of price rises, smuggling of goods and stockpiling; whereas Venezuela is facing both internal and external threats to its peace and sovereignty at the same time as it faces extraordinary social, economic, political, nature-related and environmental problems;

B.  whereas the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has on several occasions denounced the destabilisation actions promoted by the opposition against peace and democratic stability in the country and against the Venezuelan people, as occurred on 12 February 2014 with ‘Operation Jericho’, i.e. an attempted coup against the democratically elected government, planned by the far-right opposition and funded and backed by the US Government with the support of a number of top Venezuelan military officials, as well as the stepping-up in recent months of the economic war, the promotion of violent acts against civilians, public institutions, the army and the police and the sabotaging of public services, which have involved opposition leaders, among them the Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, María Corina Machado and Leopoldo López, who have committed serious crimes and are now trying to manipulate international public opinion in order to be considered ‘political prisoners’;

C.  whereas Antonio Ledezma has been arrested under a warrant issued by the Attorney‑General’s office and charged with conspiracy and association with criminal intent for his alleged involvement in the plot; whereas both of the crimes he is charged with are defined and penalised under the Venezuelan Criminal Code and the Organic Law against Organised Crime and Terrorist Financing;

D.  whereas the violence that is being orchestrated by the Venezuelan far right has been a contributing factor in the murders of a number of leading figures of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) – of Omar Arcadio Guararima and Jhonny Rodríguez in 2013; of Juancho Montoya, Eliézer Otaiza, Efraín Enrique Larreal and Robert Serra in 2014; of Dimas Gómez Chirinos, César Cristóbal Grisel Salazar, José Coraspe and Jean Carlos Añanguren in 2015; and of Alfredis José Escandela Sánchez, Ricardo Durán, César Vera and Marco Tulio Carrillo in 2016, not to mention, as recently as 28 May this year, the violent killing of a retired army Major-General and former commander of the Bolivarian National Militia, Félix Velásquez, who died from bullet wounds in Caracas; whereas the Minister for Internal Affairs, Justice and Peace, Gustavo González López, has reported that two of those arrested on suspicion of committing the murder are active members of the Chacao Police, a force that answers to the opposition-supporting mayor of Caracas;

E.  whereas in December 2014 US President Barack Obama announced a bill imposing unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions on Venezuela, passed by the US Senate, which extends until 2019 the unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions applied by the USA against the people and the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela; whereas all 33 Latin American and Caribbean nations have condemned and rejected these unilateral sanctions imposed by the USA on Venezuela; whereas in the Brussels Declaration of the Second UE-CELAC Summit the Heads of State and Government of the EU took note of the rejection by CELAC of the US sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; whereas the Government of Venezuela has reacted by announcing a set of measures in implementation of articles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations;

F.  whereas on 10 May 2016, in Strasbourg, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, called, in an interventionist and alarming fashion, for the European Parliament’s support for implementing ‘‘any useful solution’’ to the situation in Venezuela;

G.  whereas on 17 May 2016, at the EuroLat meeting in Lisbon, European Parliament Vice‑President Antonio Tajani called for the EU to intervene in Venezuela;

H.  whereas one of the components of the ongoing destabilisation in Venezuela has been, and continues to be, the multi-million dollar funding of anti-government organisations and political parties on the part of US agencies such as USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy, which has been going on for over 12 years; whereas President Obama has authorised a special fund to the sum of USD 5.5 million to finance anti-government groups in Venezuela through the US State Department;

I.  whereas in February 2014 the plan known as ‘La Salida’ (‘The Exit’) was launched, with a demonstration organised by students following a call by right-wing and extreme‑right political parties, which turned into violence that continued for several months with the clear aim of destabilising the democratically elected government of Venezuela; whereas between February and June 2014, 43 people were killed and 878 wounded; whereas this strategy was not new, as the scenario is similar to that of the 2002 coup and the violence which followed the democratic election of President Maduro in April 2013; whereas opposition leaders then refused to recognise the election results and have since repeatedly escalated the level of violence; whereas on the night of the elections 11 Venezuelans, including 2 children, died following attacks on the Bolivarian celebrations;

J.  whereas the ‘Comité de Víctimas de la Guarimba y el Golpe Continuado’ (Committee of Victims of Road Barricades and the Continued Coup d’État), formed by victims of the violence and their relatives, has called on the international community to refrain from the political instrumentalisation of human rights and not to cooperate with Venezuelan political actors who try to silence or manipulate the violence and hate suffered by Venezuela since February 2014; whereas the victims’ relatives have asked that those responsible be prosecuted and have called for an end to impunity for human rights violations in the country;

K.  whereas in May 2016, on the request and initiative of President Maduro, a UNASUR committee was set up to advance efforts to promote dialogue between the Government of Venezuela and the opposition in order to address fundamental issues for the nation; whereas the team working on the agenda for dialogue includes former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, former Panamanian President Martín Torrijos and former President of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández; whereas in this connection UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has encouraged the ongoing initiatives by former heads of state and government to promote dialogue between the Government of Venezuela and the opposition, under the auspices of UNASUR;

L.  whereas a majority of national and international media are presenting the situation in Venezuela one-sidedly; whereas the manipulation of information, in particular via social networks, is spreading rumours and disinformation about Venezuela, inter alia regarding an alleged humanitarian crisis, in order to justify an intervention against Venezuela;

M.  whereas Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel has called several times for democracy in Venezuela to be defended against attempts to destabilise the government, warning that coup attempts are advancing via new methodologies in Latin America, and denouncing corporate media multinationals such as CNN and Fox News which are broadcasting war propaganda in the name of peace, and hatred in the name of freedom;

N.  whereas 20 different elections have taken place in Venezuela in the last 15 years; whereas the last parliamentary elections were won by the opposition, demonstrating that the argument that democracy is non-existent in Venezuela is totally false; whereas, notwithstanding every democratic election, part of the opposition always refuses to recognise the government’s legitimacy; whereas in the last elections the opposition opportunistically acknowledged the result and called for respect for the Constitution of Venezuela despite always having opposed it; whereas the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela includes mechanisms of participative democracy, such as the provision for a referendum revoking the President’s mandate;

O.  whereas the far right in Venezuela is trying to mislead public opinion by claiming that the National Electoral Council is blocking the revocation referendum; whereas the opposition had the opportunity to begin the process on 10 January 2016 but for some reason ‘did not do so, and instead waited until the last moment to make the order, despite knowing all the steps they needed to follow; whereas the far right ‘did not follow the procedures and is consequently criticising the National Electoral Council for the sole reason that it opportunistically wants to adapt the law in accordance with its own agenda;

P.  whereas the far right tried to approve an amnesty law which if it existed in some European countries would mean the release of murderers and terrorists; whereas, however, the far right claims that this law would be aimed at releasing political prisoners; whereas those imprisoned in Venezuela are responsible for crimes against the Venezuelan people and their legitimate government, for the murders of ordinary people during the Guarimbas, and for other terrorist acts;

Q.  whereas the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was elected with broad support as a member of the UN Human Rights Council; whereas Venezuela has accepted 97 % of the recommendations of the last Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review, of 2011; whereas 80 % of the recommendations were directly applicable and the Venezuelan state has committed itself to implementing the other recommendations accepted; whereas in October 2014 Venezuela was also elected to one of the five rotating seats on the UN Security Council for the 2015-2016 period, with 181 votes in favour out of 193 UN member states; whereas on 6 and 7 November 2014 the Venezuelan state appeared before the UN Committee against Torture, which scrutinised the state’s compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

R.  whereas between 2006 and 2013 Venezuela moved up 13 places in the UN Human Development Index, to 71th place out of 187; whereas over the last decade the Government of Venezuela has increased its social expenditure by more than 60.6 %; whereas Venezuela is now the country with the lowest level of inequality in the region;

S.  whereas according to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL), Venezuela has significantly reduced its poverty rate and has increased life expectancy; whereas the level of extreme poverty fell to a record low of 5.4 % in 2015, as compared with 21 % in 1998; whereas the UN’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has congratulated the Venezuelan Government on significantly reducing the number of people suffering from malnutrition, thereby achieving one of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals;

T.  whereas Venezuela is the world’s fifth-largest oil-exporting country and has the world’s largest proven oil reserves; whereas, according to the draft budget for 2015, 38 % of public expenditure will be devoted to social investment, including in education, housing and urban development, healthcare, social security, culture, communications and science and technology, amounting to 8.2 % of Venezuela’s GDP;

U.  whereas Venezuela is facing a severe attack on the part of the USA and the EU – a political, diplomatic, financial, economic and media attack – at the same time as it has to face the El Niño phenomenon, which over the last three years has caused a rainfall deficit resulting in more areas being affected by drought and high temperatures; whereas this situation has caused the lowering of the water level of the Guri dam, contributing to the energy crisis in the country; whereas Venezuela’s economic situation is being affected by falling oil prices, and its government is working to sustain the current social model and all the social progress achieved;

V.  whereas, in the light of the extraordinary times that Venezuela is now living through, President Maduro decided to issue Decree No 2323 on the state of emergency and economic emergency, which has already had some positive results in defending the rights of workers, indigenous people and pensioners, among other groups affected by the current extraordinary circumstances;

W.  whereas a dialogue has been launched between representatives of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the opposition, mediated by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Leonel Fernández and Martín Torrijos;

1.  Strongly condemns the permanent destabilisation campaign being carried out against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, through violent acts occurring in a framework similar to that of the previous coup attempt of 2002; insists that interventionist actions against the sovereignty of Venezuela, far from creating spaces for dialogue and peace, encourage extreme positions falling outside the country’s institutional and constitutional order;

2.  Denounces the claims of an alleged humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, which are intended to promote an international campaign in favour of intervention;

3.  Deeply regrets the loss of lives and extends its condolences to the families of the victims of the opposition’s rage; calls for those responsible for committing or inciting the crimes concerned to be held accountable for their acts; expresses its respect for the judicial system of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and therefore rejects any interference in the ongoing judicial proceedings at national level;

4.  Regrets the coup track record of some members of the opposition, such as Antonio Ledezma, María Corina Machado and Leopoldo López, who have on previous occasions placed themselves outside the democratic framework by attempting to break the Venezuelan constitutional order;

5.  Reiterates its full support for, and solidarity with, the Venezuelan people, the Bolivarian process and the elected President, Nicolás Maduro; recalls its full respect for the principle of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states in accordance with international law; deeply deplores any interference by the EU or any country in the internal affairs of third countries, and also deplores the most recent statements by Federica Mogherini and Antonio Tajani; also condemns, following this line, the US’ decision to impose sanctions against Venezuela;

6.  Denounces the spurious utilisation of human rights for political ends by the European Parliament, in particular in the case of Venezuela; recalls that this is Parliament’s 10th resolution on this country since 2007, most of the earlier resolutions having been tabled in the run-up to elections or simultaneously with a destabilisation process; warns, and is firmly convinced, that the intention exists to use the European Parliament as an arena of manipulation in which Venezuelan domestic issues are exploited in the service of the Spanish election campaign, responding to the particular interests of certain political parties in that country and having nothing to do with the priorities of the EU, which should direct its efforts to addressing the major social and political problems affecting its own citizens and territory;

7.  Denounces the undemocratic and insurgent aims of the destabilisation campaign; highlights the imperialist interest of the USA in ensuring its access to Venezuela’s oil resources and its political aim of undermining the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – People’s Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP);

8.  Endorses the principles set out in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, and urges the entire international community to fully respect this proclamation in its relations with CELAC countries, including a commitment not to intervene directly or indirectly in the internal affairs of any other state and to observe the principles of national sovereignty, equal rights and the self-determination of peoples;

9.  Stresses that dialogue with third countries should not under any circumstances result in restrictions being imposed on the right of peoples to self-determination; deplores the fact that the EU and its Member States too often give priority to diplomatic, political or economic considerations over human rights, an approach which, moreover, gives rise to a policy characterised by double standards that is at odds with a universal vision of human rights; rejects any scenario such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya which, under the pretext of ‘‘bringing democracy and human rights’, have led to entire regions collapsing ‘into destruction, war, chaos and humanitarian crisis;

10.  Deplores the role played by a majority of international media in spreading rumours and disinformation with the aim of generating an atmosphere of violence and destabilisation that undermines the Venezuelan Government; recalls that freedom of information is a fundamental human right, and calls on the international media to act responsibly and to cover events in a fair, accurate and balanced manner, which is not currently the case;

11.  Condemns the draft amnesty law proposed by the far right in Venezuela, whose principal objective is to release murderers, terrorists and people responsible for the deaths of innocent people;

12.  Expresses its deep solidarity with Venezuela and Latin America over the El Niño phenomenon and its massive effects in Venezuela; sends out a strong call for international solidarity to help and support the regions which are suffering from this natural phenomenon;

13.  Welcomes the implementation of policies of social inclusion in Venezuela based on social responsibility and justice, equality, solidarity and human rights, which has helped to reduce inequality in the country, in particular in terms of social development measures and the significant progress made in reducing poverty and in the area of education, including the eradication of illiteracy in 2005 and the increased number of higher education students;

14.  Recalls the importance of Venezuela’s role in creating and strengthening a cooperation and integration process for the benefit of the peoples of Latin America; underlines the significant progress made in regional integration and cooperation in favour of the peoples of Latin America; welcomes the significant achievements of ALBA-TCP and CELAC in the fields of health, education, culture and financial integration;

15.  Recognises that the member countries of ALBA-TCP are aware of the hard work of the Venezuelan Government in promoting and protecting human rights, justice and peace and in endeavouring to contain the plans being made for international intervention against Venezuela, which threaten the stability not only of their sister nation but also of the region’;

16.  Endorses the EuroLat Declaration, issued in Lisbon at the summit of 16 to 18 May 2016, which, referring to the challenges facing certain member countries of the bi‑regional association, expresses ‘concern at the political, economic and social consequences of the economic crisis affecting many European and Latin American countries,’ and, furthermore, ‘‘with respect to the Venezuelan crisis’, recommends ‘seeking a meeting-point from which representatives of the government, the Assembly and political parties can work together to find solutions within the framework of the Venezuelan Constitution’’;

17.  Welcomes the initiative being promoted by President Maduro, with the help of UNASUR, with a view to dialogue between representatives of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the opposition, and supports the role being played by UNASUR, which defends as priorities for this dialogue the wellbeing of all citizens, peace, justice, truth, good institutional relationships, the strengthening of the economy, defence of the rule of law, democracy and respect for national sovereignty, the first meeting having been held in the Dominican Republic in the presence of former prime ministers or presidents José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (Spain), Leonel Fernández (Dominican Republic) and Martín Torrijos (Panama);

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Mercosur Parliament, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly and the Latin American regional bodies, including UNASUR, ALBA-TCP and CELAC.

(1)

OJ C 120 E, 24.4.2008, p. 484.

(2)

OJ C 15 E, 21.1.2010, p. 85.

(3)

OJ C 212 E, 5.8.2010, p. 113.

(4)

OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 69.

(5)

OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p. 130.

(6)

OJ C 264 E, 13.9.2013, p. 88.

(7)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0176.

(8)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0106.

(9)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0080.

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