The EU External Action Service has heavily criticised Venezuela for the “excessive and disproportionate” use of force by its security forces. Venezuelan security services have dealt with protests during elections on Sunday in an excessively brutal manner, leading the European Commission to warn that Venezuelan government plans would “further de-legitimise” democracy.
In a statement published on Monday, a spokesperson for the EU executive said the events of the past 24 hours had “reinforced the European Union’s preoccupation for the fate of democracy in Venezuela”. It called on both sides to refrain from violence, but specifically condemned the “excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces.” At least 10 people were killed in protests against the Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s plans to rewrite the constitution.
“A Constituent Assembly, elected under doubtful and often violent circumstances cannot be part of the solution. It has increased division and will further de-legitimise Venezuela’s democratically elected institutions,” adds the European Commission spokesperson, calling on Maduro and his government’s “special responsibility to restore the spirit of the Constitution and to re-establish the trust lost by their attempt to set up divisive parallel institutions.”
“The fate of democracy in Venezuela is a legitimate concern to all countries in the region, and to Venezuela’s partners across the world. In support of ongoing regional mediation efforts, the European Union will continue to seek urgent relief for the people of Venezuela and promote a political solution to the crisis,” concludes the statement.
Tajani reacts after call with Venezuela’s opposition leader
The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, responded after a telephone conversation with opposition leader Leopoldo López. “It’s a sad day for democracy in Venezuela. We will not recognize this election.”
“In the last 24 hours, chavist repression has reached unthinkable levels. The international community cannot remain silent in front of so many deaths in Venezuela. The press was not allowed to cover and report from polling places, this again demonstrates how undemocratic the current regime is,” continued Tajani.
“It is very clear that the current regime is clinging to power. The will of the people is to change the regime. It is necessary to go to elections now,” added the European Parliament president, recalling the Chamber’s last resolution on the situation in Venezuela, that asked that a delegation is sent to that country. “I will consult the political groups on this matter,” Tajani concluded.