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Secretary General Presents Fourth Report on Venezuela

  September 25, 2017

The full report is available here.

Today we present to the member countries of the OAS and the hemispheric public the fourth report on Venezuela, which shows that democracy there was completely eliminated on July 30, 2107, following the establishment of an illegitimate Constituent Assembly.

The three reports that I have presented to this point aimed to denounce the way in which we have gone from the “alteration of the constitutional order” to the “complete breakdown of the democratic order.”

Since assuming my responsibilities as Secretary General, I have said my commitment is to democratic values and the peoples who defend them. The work of the OAS is to anticipate and support solutions to achieve the most permanent development of democracy in its member countries.

The General Secretariat of the OAS has been documenting, denouncing and presenting evidence of the alteration of the constitutional order, of the breakdown of the democratic order and of the unending attacks on the institutions of Venezuela.

The regime in Venezuela has moved forward by stepping on the rights of its people.

In Venezuela, the essential elements and the fundamental components of democracy as defined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter have been systematically and repeatedly violated. The Democratic Charter – let us not forget – is part of the Inter-American Law accepted by the states and its provisions are consistent with the OAS Charter and therefore do not constitute interference in the internal affairs of the member states.

In Venezuela there is no respect for human rights and basic freedoms, there is no rule of law and political parties and organizations are constantly attacked. Nor is there separation and independence of powers and, since July 30, there are no longer periodic, free, fair elections based on universal and secret suffrage as an expression of the people’s sovereignty.

The process that led to the establishment of the Constituent Assembly violated the constitutional provisions regarding the universality of the vote. It was a flawed process from the beginning, plagued by irregularities and violence, in which the basic freedoms of the citizens were violated.

The very rector of the National Electoral Council, Luis Emilio Rondón, denounced the unconstitutional nature of the process, the lack of controls and the seriousness of what took place. Smartmatic, the business that has been working with the Venezuelan government since 2004 on the technological platform for voting, said openly that there had been “manipulation.” Finally, the Venice Commission denounced that the pluralistic regime of parties and political organizations was not respected, since information for the formation of electoral rolls "could easily be manipulated."

The illegal Constituent Assembly deprived of its legislative functions the legitimate National Assembly, the one that was elected by the people in a universal, direct and free vote at the end of 2015. In an absolute mockery of the institutional order, the president of the Constituent Assembly declared that the National Assembly has not been dissolved, and that it remains a legislative power, but without legislative functions.

The two first actions of the Constituent Assembly, aimed to neutralize the National Assembly and the Attorney General, confirm that the separation of powers in Venezuela is a pipe dream. Although both legitimate powers of the state have tried to preserve the principle of mutual control, it has been completely abolished by the regime.

In Venezuela today there is a regime that has lost its legitimacy of origin. Nicolás Maduro put his position at the disposal of the Constituent Assembly, which returned it to him. This validation by an illegitimate and fraudulent body makes his position definitively unconstitutional.

This loss of legitimacy arises from the torturous process that began with the illegal annulment of the recall referendum in 2016 – equivalent to annulling an election. Since then the regime has ignored the basic principles of the rule of law, and has violated the legal system and its institutions. This regime has taken away the powers of the legislature, has joined the electoral and judicial powers, and has taken away the basic freedoms of the citizenry. This regime, in short, has ignored the essential bases of the law and has acted outside the Constitution and the law.

We do not seek to isolate the Venezuelan people, but to support them, condemning the dictatorial regime.

That is why I make the following requests:

First: To reiterate the request we made previously for the international community to continue to apply ever more severe sanctions against the regime and its authorities.

Second: To recognize the countries of the hemisphere that have declared they will not accept the results of the Constituent Assembly of July 30, 2107 and that, therefore, the acts derived from this body lack legitimacy.

Third: To reaffirm solidarity with the people of Venezuela.

Fourth: To admit that the current situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela represents a threat to peace and hemispheric security, due to the serious humanitarian and migratory crisis and the proven links of state structures with organized crime.

Fifth: To order reparation to the Venezuelan people for the violation of the international instruments mentioned previously through the following actions:

-The annulment of the Constituent Assembly process.
-The immediate end of repression.
-The liberation of ALL political prisoners.
-A large-scale investigation of the acts by key figures of the regime and their subordinates to ensure accountability for crimes committed against the civilian population.
-The holding of free, fair and universal elections, in short order, and with qualified international observation.
-The return to constitutional order with full respect for the separation of powers.
-The establishment of an effective anti-corruption mechanism.
-The installment to the Supreme Court of Justice of the sworn judges.

We demand that peace, democracy and freedom must not be negotiated, because they are our greatest assets and cannot be renounced, nor can we allow the regime to force Venezuelans to give up their greatest assets. Peace, democracy and freedom must be the result of dialogue, and not up for negotiation. The parties in the dialogue should listen to the voice of the OAS in defense of its principles, which are those that will provide guarantees to the Venezuelan people.

No negotiation should be based on handing out power, but on the return of democracy to the country.

Reference: S-030/17