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Message from the Secretary General on Venezuela

  October 16, 2017

Yesterday gubernatorial elections were held in Venezuela. We are not going to comment on the irregularities in the process, given that they repeat the same variables of illegality, uncertainty and fraud that we have been denouncing since our first communication to the president of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, in November 2015. We reiterate these same complaints regarding the election process for the National Constituent Assembly or the annulment of the recall referendum.

Today we would have liked to greet the winners and welcome the completion of a civic celebration. However, we have to express skepticism and denounce the lack of guarantees that take place over and over in elections held by dictatorships.

The General Secretariat of the OAS rejects all of these illegitimate acts carried out by illegitimate governments, and condemns in particular, once more, the abuses of the civil and political rights of the Venezuelan people by the regime.

The results of an election in a country with no guarantees for the effective exercise of democracy cannot be recognized. It is clear that any political force that agrees to go to an election without guarantees becomes an essential tool of the eventual fraud, and shows that it has no democratic reflexes to protect the rights of the people, in this case, the right to the vote.

This type of act is not new: it first happened when the recall referendum was annulled and it was repeated when the results of the July 16 consultation were not respected.

This is an important lesson for everyone, for the political leadership of Venezuela and for the international community.

These are the only kind of results we can expect – fraud and human rights violations – if the political strategy and acts distance themselves from democratic principles and values in favor of easy and circumstantial agreements.

No election in Venezuela will provide guarantees to voters unless it is carried out with qualified electoral observation – in particular by this Organization – that ensures a transparent and legal process.

In order to generate a democratic reconstruction in the country, the opposition political leadership must unite with the people and those few leaders who, in accordance with their principles, understood at all times that the citizens of Venezuela want freedoms and are not willing to follow the rules of the dictatorship.

We consider that it is no longer the time for resolutions or declarations, although we appreciate that the last ones made have been conclusive and reflect more accurately the agenda we proposed on May 30, 2015: general elections, freedom for all political prisoners, the separation of powers and respect for institutions, and the opening of a humanitarian channel.

The General Secretariat of the OAS, for its part, will continue along the lines of action that have been announced:

a) Continue the processes underway to determine the evidence for crimes against humanity by the authorities of the regime in Venezuela;
b) Promote and legitimize the application of sanctions against the Venezuelan regime; and
c) Support Venezuelan democratic institutions that must today work in exile.

Reference: S-031/17