The European Union (EU) issued a formal response today to the May 20 presidential election that saw Maduro elected to a six-year term by saying that the vote “lacked any credibility”. The EU’s response came via a statement from the European Council, which issued today a list of 10 conclusions it had made in regards to the Venezuelan election.
According to the EU, the May 20 election has effectively “pushed further away the possibility of a constitutional negotiated solution” to the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela. As a result, the EU is also calling for new elections in the country “in accordance with internationally recognized democratic standards”.
On the problems with the presidential election, the EU document says:
The substantially reduced electoral calendar, bans and other major obstacles to the participation of opposition political parties and their leaders, as well as the non-respect of minimal democratic standards as indicated by numerous reported irregularities, notably the widespread abuse of state resources, voter coercion and unbalanced access to media, led to these elections being neither free nor fair.
In the same document, the EU says that it is “deeply concerned about the pressing humanitarian needs of the population”, and sets out a path for future engagement with the crisis:
The EU wishes to remain engaged with all stakeholders in Venezuela and reiterates its friendship and support to its people. The EU is ready to help find a democratic way out of the current multidimensional crisis, through a meaningful and result-oriented negotiation conducted in good faith, that includes all relevant Venezuelan political actors. To that end, the EU will enhance its diplomatic outreach with all relevant national, regional and international actors, recognising especially efforts by Latin American and Caribbean partners that have offered their assistance and support to the process of overcoming the crisis in Venezuela.
Maduro Reacts: “Get Out of Here, EU!”
Maduro reacted this afternoon to the EU’s statement on the May 20 presidential election during a televised cabinet meeting.
The president wasted no time in lashing out against the bloc and accusing its members of plotting to overthrow his government. Maduro said:
The enemies of the fatherland repeat each day their threats, their intimidation, their lies, their manipulation. We’ve just seen the press release from the foreign ministers of the European Union which, in such an insolent manner, are trying to stick their noses in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and repeat their lies (…) Venezuela should say, “Get out of here, European Union!”.
Maduro said that the EU’s statement was tantamount to “interventionism”, and then turned to a rhetoric tool which he has used in the past: arguing that the EU’s comments hearken back to the era of colonialism. Maduro said:
Enough meddling! Enough interventionism! Venezuela must be respected. Enough with the old colonialism which we in these South American lands cast off with our weapons (…) enough with the old colonialism that sees us not as men, but as subject colonies (…) Venezuela is no one’s inheritance. Venezuela is a fertile land for republican ideas, for independent ideas.
No institution of the European Union or its constituting governments has the legal ability–and much less the moral ground–to question the choices of the Venezuelan People [sic] which it takes in a freely democratic exercise. European institutions should concentrate their efforts in looking to and resolving the innumerable and serious social, political, migratory and economic problems that directly affect the European people…
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