Our Opinion – The crisis in Venezuela

April 24th, 2017.



Abril 24 de 2017



In observance of its mission to defend democracy in our hemisphere, the Interamerican Institute for Democracy, cannot ignore the Venezuelan crisis characterized by the struggle of the citizens of that country to rescue their freedom through legitimate actions.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, protected by their constitutional rights, have been demonstrating in the streets of major cities since the beginning of April, despite the violence unleashed by repressive forces, an attitude of the ruling party that endangers the safety of civilian Venezuelans, which has even affected children in hospitals making them flee the premises precipitately.

At the time that this document is being written, more than 20 citizens have been killed, most of them by firearms, invariably wielded by members of the Bolivarian National Guard or paramilitary groups armed by the government. Hence the words of Dr. Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS): “The recent actions of the regime of distributing weapons to civilians and urging them to fight are a vicious repressive action that incites violence”.

As a matter of fact, it is terribly unwise to increase the Bolivarian Militia to 500,000 civilians armed with rifles and war supplies, a group that has no other objective than the military confrontation against the Venezuelan people.

Why this new outbreak of violence? This was clearly explained by the Episcopal Conference of Venezuela in a statement released at the end of March, in one of whose captions the following is established:

“Beyond legal and constitutional considerations, the elimination of the National Assembly, supplanting it by a representation of the judicial and executive branches, is an absolute lack of knowledge that sovereignty resides in the people and its their job, in any case, to give their verdict. A nation without a parliament is like a body without a soul. It’s dead and vanishes any possibility of divergent opinion or contrary to those in power. It opens the door to arbitrariness, corruption and persecution, a cliff to the dictatorship, being, as always, the weakest and poorest of society the most affected. For these reasons, we reiterate, this distortion is morally unacceptable.”

The UN, meanwhile, has warned of the consequences that this new crisis could have in the region. On Friday April 21st, the spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, stated that the organization is closely monitoring the situation, given the violence and deaths recorded and “they are [also] concerned about the regional impact.

In that sense, he recalled that in recent years there has been a substantial increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum in several countries in the region. Thousands of people have fled to Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and even Guyana, adding to the 1.5 million Venezuelan emigrants and refugees in the United States, Spain, Panama and the Dominican Republic due to violence and lack of food and medicine.

Finally, the purpose of this document is very clear: to demand the immediate release of Venezuelan political prisoners, the holding of general elections that put an end to this crisis, and return to society a climate of peaceful coexistence in which it is possible to restore normalcy Democracy.

Carlos Alberto Montaner            Carlos Sánchez Berzaín

     Presidente                                Director Ejecutivo