Maduro’s regime must implement the Barbados agreement to hold fair and free elections

Venezuelans protest against Maduro's regime in Caracas, Venezuela.

MEPs have strongly condemned the attacks on the opposition in Venezuela and the interference of Nicolás Maduro‘s regime in the electoral process. The Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday with 446 votes in favour, 21 against, and 32 abstentions, stating that the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice’s decision to disqualify María Corina Machado has no legal grounds, and she remains eligible to run for the elections. The text also strongly condemns the attempts to prevent other opposition politicians, such as Henrique Capriles, from holding public office.

MEPs further condemned the attacks, forced disappearances, arrests, and arrest warrants against the opposition, civil society, human rights defenders, and journalists. They stressed the Maduro regime’s apparent breach of the agreement signed last year in Barbados by representatives of the Venezuelan government and the opposition to hold free and fair presidential elections in 2024. They called for the immediate end of persecution. They emphasised that if all points of the Barbados agreement were respected, Venezuela’s 2024 elections could mark a turning point from a corrupt autocracy to a return to democracy.

The Parliament urged EU member states to tighten existing sanctions against the Maduro regime until it demonstrates a clear and permanent commitment to uphold basic democratic standards, the rule of law, and human rights. MEPs also called for further targeted sanctions under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (EU Magnitsky Act) against the judges of the Supreme Court of Venezuela and members of the Venezuelan security forces involved in systematic abuses against government opponents.

MEPs insisted that the EU consider only sending an electoral observation mission to Venezuela once transparent and credible guarantees that the Barbados agreement and the electoral roadmap are entirely respected. They also warned that the elections and election results will not be recognised unless María Corina Machado is allowed to participate in the elections and the EU Electoral observation mission recommendations from 2021 are correctly implemented.

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