Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
I am deeply concerned by the ongoing political, social, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, which is having an ever-worsening impact on the population and on neighbouring countries, as over 4.5 million people have left the country since 2015.
I continue to believe that only a peaceful, democratic solution to this crisis will offer the people of Venezuela a return to stability and prosperity. Ireland, together with our EU partners, stand firmly with the Venezuelan people and their legitimate democratic aspirations.
It is important to recall that the Presidential elections which saw Nicolás Maduro re-elected in May 2018 lacked legitimacy. On 6 February 2019, Ireland joined the majority of other EU MS in acknowledging and supporting Mr. Guaidó, President of the democratically elected National Assembly, as President ad interim of Venezuela, in order for him to call for free, fair and democratic presidential elections.
Continued attempts to block the functioning of the National Assembly, the democratic and legitimate body of Venezuela, and the ongoing harassment of its members, have led to a deterioration of the political situation and have impeded efforts to reach a negotiated solution to the crisis in the country.
The actions that took place on 5 January surrounding the planned re-election of the President of the National Assembly were deeply troubling. Ireland fully supports the EU statement issued on that date that condemned the serious irregularities that occurred. This statement also reaffirmed support for Mr Guaidó in his role as President of the National Assembly.
It is essential that the National Assembly is able to carry out the mandate it has received from the Venezuelan people. Respecting democratic institutions and principles and upholding the rule of law are essential conditions to finding a peaceful and sustainable solution to the crisis in Venezuela for the benefit of its people.
We will continue to support the reinstatement of democracy and the rule of law, through free and fair elections. The situation was most recently discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels on 17 February. Ireland supports EU efforts, including through the International Contact Group (ICG) and Special Adviser Enrique Iglesias, to engage with all relevant actors and stakeholders in an effort to secure and support a Venezuelan-owned solution.
I, along with EU partners, have also regularly voiced support for the Oslo Talks process, facilitated by Norway. While these talks have now been suspended, Ireland encourages both sides to engage in good faith in an inclusive, serious and results-oriented process.
I will continue to monitor the situation in the country closely and engage with my EU colleagues on this important issue.