The European Parliament backed on Thursday a peaceful solution for Venezuela via free, transparent and credible presidential elections.

With 310 votes to 120 and 152 abstentions, plenary passed the second resolution this year on Venezuela (the tenth one since the beginning of the current parliamentary term). MEPs condemn the “fierce repression and violence” and reiterate their deep concern at the unprecedented humanitarian and political crisis in the country.

Venezuela is facing a shortage of medicines and food, massive human rights violations, hyperinflation, political oppression, corruption and violence, the text notes. Poverty has reached 87% of the population and millions of Venezuelans have fled the country, it adds. MEPs also refer to the recent electricity outages, which have aggravated the already dramatic healthcare crisis.

Support to Guaidó’s roadmap

The Chamber confirms that it recognises Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim President of Venezuela and expresses its full support for his roadmap, namely putting an end to illegitimate claims to power, establishing a national transitional government and holding snap presidential elections. MEPs call on the EU member states that have not yet recognised Guaidó to do so urgently.

Parliament calls on the “Maduro illegal regime” to stop harassment, detentions and all forms of repression against journalists, political leaders and members of Juan Guaidó’s team, including his chief of staff, Roberto Marrero.

Humanitarian aid and migratory crisis

MEPs denounce that last month, despite the already limited food supplies in Venezuela being at risk of spoiling, the humanitarian aid offered by Colombia and Brazil was fiercely rejected and in some cases destroyed by the regime.

The resolution also points to the increased migratory crisis across the entire region, recognising the efforts and solidarity shown by neighbouring countries. MEPs demand the European Commission continue cooperating with these countries, not only by providing humanitarian assistance, but also by offering more resources.

“How much must society suffer and how many people need to die before the experiment of socialism in the XXIst century comes to an end? The country is in a situation of total chaos and the repression goes on. We can’t stand by idly while witnessing the violation of human rights. The EU must condemn the irregular action of armed groups that intimidate civilians and legislators, and call for an end to repression against political leaders, journalists and members of the opposition such as Leopoldo López, Roberto Marrero and Juan Requesens“, said José Ignacio Salafranca MEP, EPP Group Deputy Spokesman in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Additional EU sanctions

Parliament finally calls for additional EU sanctions targeting illegitimate state authorities’ assets abroad and those individuals responsible for human rights breaches and repression. It suggests visa bans for these individuals, as well as of their closest relatives.

“The EU must increase the list of sanctions against Nicolás Maduro and his accomplices who are causing the Venezuelan people so much harm”, said Esteban González Pons MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

“Venezuela’s democracy is our democracy, Venezuela’s freedom is our freedom, Venezuela’s hunger should be our hunger, for decency and for values, and also because there are two million European citizens locked up and trapped with the Venezuelan people. If we really believe that being European is a matter of principle, let’s not leave Juan Guaidó or the Venezuelan people alone”, he added.

The document, tabled without the Socialists Group’s support, also reiterates Parliament’s position in favour of a peaceful solution for the country via free, transparent and credible presidential elections. The latter should be based on a time-framed calendar, fair conditions for all actors, including a neutral National Electoral Council, transparency and with the presence of credible international observation.

“The Socialist Group has clearly preferred to give Nicolás Maduro greater room for manoeuvre, preferring to leave the negotiating table rather than reject the influence of the Cuban regime and its agents in Venezuela”, concluded Salafranca.

S&Ds: EPP and Liberals break the EU consensus on Venezuela

In blatant contradiction with the European External Action Service and the previous resolutions adopted by the European Parliament on Venezuela, the EPP Group and the Liberals today pushed for a resolution that opens the door to the use of force or an armed intervention and questions any mediation for a peaceful and democratic solution, say Socialists and Democrats.

The S&D Group, which voted in favour of previous parliamentary resolutions denouncing abuse of power and calling for clean elections, supports the efforts currently deployed by the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU and chose to maintain the official EU line today, which includes rejecting any use of violence or an armed intervention to solve the difficult crisis affecting Venezuela. The Group has criticised the partisan and electoral use of the Venezuelan crisis by some members in the Parliament.

“The position of the EPP and ALDE Groups is irresponsible: We continue to support the European External Action Service and the Contact Group of which a majority of European countries are part of. The political right wing in the Parliament is denying something evident: that the only international agent that is talking to the government and to the opposition these days, with the aim of a regime transition and the calling of elections, is the European Contact Group, with the support of some countries in the region. This animosity against any mediation is stupid and incoherent,” said S&D MEP Ramón Jáuregui, who co-chairs the EU-Latin America parliamentary assembly (Eurolat).

“We remain on the EU position, which still favours a political democratic and peaceful solution as the only way out of this crisis. We also regret the rejection of an amendment introduced by our Group which explicitly called for the inclusion of a paragraph in the resolution, so as to categorically reject any military intervention or use of violence in the Venezuelan crisis. Any speculation or strategy including a military intervention cannot but generate an escalation of violence in the country and will have disastrous effects in the whole region,” he added.