What you should know about the crisis in Venezuela
Juan Guaidó in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, © picture alliance/dpa
The situation in Venezuela has worsened dramatically. Here is our analysis:
1) Nicolás Maduro has not been democratically legitimated as president.
The presidential elections in May 2018 did not meet any democratic standards. They were neither free nor fair. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his EU colleagues are therefore calling for new elections in accordance with international standards. In her declaration of 26 January on behalf of the EU, High Representative Federica Mogherini has condemned the violence that security forces have committed against numerous demonstrators in recent days. She says that the country urgently needs a government that truly represents the will of the Venezuelan people.
2) New elections under Guaidó
For Germany, Juan Guaidó is the Interim President of Venezuela in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution. The deadline set for Nicolás Maduro has passed. Guaidó is President of the National Assembly, the only democratically legitimate body that represents the Venezuelan people. Only through free and fair elections can people in the country make a democratic decision about their future.
3) The police and militia are increasingly using repression and deadly force against civilians.
In Venezuela, security forces and militia affiliated with the government are killing civilians in broad daylight. Since the most recent protests began, according to the UN dozens of people have died and hundreds have been arrested, including journalists. Innocent civilians are being intimidated, so that they will not take to the streets and demonstrate against Nicolás Maduro. There is a widespread climate of violence and repression, and the Maduro regime is trampling on human rights. That is why Germany and all EU member states are collectively calling on all actors in Venezuela to abstain from violence. People in Venezuela should have the opportunity to make a decision about their future through free and fair elections that are untainted by violence.
4) More and more people are suffering from disease, malnutrition and poverty.
People in Venezuela are currently not able to meet their most basic needs. There are shortages of medication, and undernourishment and malnutrition are on the rise. The state health care system has collapsed, and in the world’s oil-richest country people are dying from diseases such as measles and diphtheria. Food stocks are running low, prices for food are often unaffordable and queues at supermarkets are long. It is in the urgent interest of people in the country to end this crisis and to hold new elections in accordance with democratic rule-of-law standards.
5) Germany and Venezuela’s neighbours are jointly working to alleviate the suffering.
Germany is most severely concerned about the Venezuelan people, who are struggling simply to survive day in and day out. More than three million Venezuelans have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the hardships. Through German and international aid organisations, we are supplying assistance to refugees and host communities to the tune of 12 million euros, in the form of water, medication, shelter and food. Germany stands ready to also provide humanitarian assistance to people in Venezuela, to help alleviate the catastrophic situation. Juan Guaidó has declared that he is open to this idea – unlike Nicolás Maduro. It has allocated funding of five million euros for immediate humanitarian assistance, which can be provided as soon as the country permits this. Juan Guaidó has declared that he is open to this idea – unlike Nicolás Maduro.
Find out more:
Speech by Minister Heiko Maas in the German Bundestag
Statement by Minister Heiko Maas