The European Union diplomatic mission sent to Caracas to discuss guarantees and safeguards for the vote decided to meet first with National Assembly President Juan Guaido, reported wire service Europa Press.
European officials requested this Tuesday, September 29, that the different parties be involved in a long term dialogue, beyond the December elections -a vote rejected by Guaido and the United States and which the EU has suggested delayed- to find a solution to the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
However, according to local media reports, the EU envoys left without a firm commitment from the Maduro regime to delay the elections of December.
This EU diplomatic visit took place after the report presented on Wednesday #23Sep to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which denounced extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, torture, and other abuses by Venezuelan authorities.
European diplomacy maintains that dialogue between Maduro and the opposition is the only way out of the crisis: “The political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela not be solved in one single blow. Beyond the electoral cycle, long-term discussions are needed between all parties in Venezuela to find a democratic and sustainable solution to the needs and demands of the Venezuelan people,” community sources told EFE.
The opposition, however, maintains that the purpose of the December election is to end with all opposition to Maduro.
The commission arrived on Thursday, September 24, to deal with “the main political forces, civil society, academics, the private sector, and the church,” to promote minimum and fair conditions in the parliamentary elections.
“It is not a secret mission. The EU countries have informed before the trip,” said Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Nabila Massrali, who also highlighted that they continue with the negotiations to reach Nicolas Maduro and the opposition, and see how they can collaborate in a democratic transition in Venezuela.
Here are some points about the diplomatic mission in the country:
- The mission got headed by the Assistant Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora, and the acting Director-General for the Americas, Javier Niño. The diplomats were in Caracas until Monday, September 29.
- According to local media reports, they met with Maduro after meeting with Guaido, as well as with some other regime figures (Jorge Rodriguez, Delcy Rodriguez, Jorge Arreaza).
- As reiterated by Nabila Massrali, the mission is part of the efforts to promote minimum democratic conditions before the legislative elections of December.
- There is a consensus among the Twenty-Seven (EU member countries) that they are not in a position to deploy an electoral observation mission on #6Dec. Preparations -pre, during, and post-election- take at least six months, Europe has repeatedly said.
- According to the Spanish newspaper, ABC, in Brussels, not even the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was aware of the travels of the Venezuelan delegation. Some in Europe believe the mission was a solo effort spearheaded by Josep Borrell, the EU top diplomat, and a man perceived to be ideologically close to Maduro.
- On Tuesday #29Sep, the European Popular Party denounced the visit of the European Union mission to Venezuela. Also, the European Party, chaired by the German Manfred Weber, expressed itself against the EU high representative for foreign policy, Josep Borrell, accusing him of whitewashing Maduro with this maneuver.
- “Legitimizing the Maduro dictator and giving him a look of international normality in any way would be unacceptable,” Weber said.
- The popular leader insists that the UN report on crimes against humanity in Venezuela, including executions, torture, and detentions, invalidates any diplomatic effort. European Parliament MP Antonio Tajani also demanded immediate explanations from the EU. He questioned whether it is possible to maintain diplomatic contacts with someone accused of crimes against humanity.
- According to ABC, the European Ambassador in Caracas, Isabel Brilhante, informed the opposition leaders when the delegation already left the trip, which was considered a disregard. Maduro expelled Brilhante months ago but was forced to recant when reminded that the EU did not recognize him as head of state.
The postponement of the elections is not an end in itself but as an opportunity to gain time, also taking into account the health situation, since, according to projections, the peak of COVID-19 will arrive in December in Venezuela.
Information from EFE and ABC.