Venezuela: MEPs condemn attacks on opposition’s presidential candidate
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Venezuela: MEPs condemn attacks on opposition’s presidential candidate

MEPs strongly condemn the attacks against the opposition in Venezuela and the interference of Nicolás Maduro’s regime in the electoral process.

The decision by the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice to disqualify MaríaCorina Machado has no legal grounds and she remains eligible to run for the elections, states Parliament in its resolution adopted on Thursday by 446 votes in favour, 21 against and 32 abstentions. The text also strongly condemns the attempts to prevent other opposition politicians, such as Henrique Capriles, from holding public office.

Respecting the Barbados agreement could be a turning point towards democracy

MEPs condemn the attacks, alleged forced disappearances, arrests and arrest warrants against the opposition, civil society, human rights defenders and journalists, and the interference of Nicolás Maduro’s regime in the electoral process.

The Maduro regime is in clear 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. Persecutions must stop immediately, say MEPs. 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, they stress.

Sanctions against the regime to be increased

Parliament urges EU member states to tighten existing sanctions against the Maduro regime until it demonstrates a clear and permanent commitment to uphold basic democratic standards, rule of law, and human rights. MEPs call 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 insist that the EU shall not consider sending any electoral observation mission to Venezuela until there are clear and credible guarantees that the Barbados agreement and the electoral roadmap are being respected in their entirety.

Unless María Corina Machado is allowed to participate in the elections, and the EU Electoral observation mission recommendations from 2021 are being properly implemented, elections and election results will not be recognised, warn MEPs.