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Statement by Minister Dr Miro Cerar on developments in Venezuela

Foreign Minister Dr Miro Cerar today issued a statement after the session of the National Assembly Committee on Foreign Policy, announcing his proposal to the Government that Slovenia should acknowledge the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as interim President of Venezuela, to enable free, fair and democratic presidential elections.

 

The country has been facing a decade of profound political, economic and humanitarian crisis, with already three quarters of the population living below the poverty line. More than two million people have left the country in the last five years, resulting in one of the largest mass migrations in modern Latin American history.  The human rights situation is also a cause for concern, which has been repeatedly pointed out by the United Nations and other international organisations.

 

According to Dr Cerar, all Venezuelan people must be guaranteed their rights and freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly, to freely choose their leaders and decide on their own future. Any violence is unacceptable, and the only way out of this situation is a peaceful one.

 

Therefore, the country needs new free, transparent and credible presidential elections. “In this regard, I will propose to the Government that Slovenia should acknowledge the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the interim President of Venezuela, to implement free, fair and democratic presidential elections,” stressed Minister Cerar, adding that “We need to take the side of the people, democracy and the rule of law.”

 

On 20 May 2018, Venezuela held presidential elections, which were declared by the EU only 8 days later as unfree, unfair and fraudulent. Despite all the criticism, Nicolas Maduro was sworn in on 10 January 2019. However, the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, declared himself interim president on 23 January 2019.

 

On 31 January 2019, the European Parliament adopted, with 439 votes in favour, 104 against and 88 abstentions, a resolution recognising Guaido as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela, until new, free, transparent and credible presidential elections are held.

 

To date, Guaido has been recognised as the interim President by 15 European countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

 

International efforts, including the newly established International Contact Group at the EU’s initiative, are aimed at supporting the peaceful stabilisation and democratisation of the situation in Venezuela and at providing assistance and alleviating the serious humanitarian crisis in the country.