INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Zealand expresses concern regarding Venezuelan elections

Published: Tue 22 May 2018 05:32 PM
Rt Hon Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
MEDIA STATEMENT
22 May 2018
New Zealand expresses concern regarding Venezuelan elections
“New Zealand has been following developments in Venezuela closely in recent months and is extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation in the country, including the continuing erosion of democratic norms and institutions,” Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.
Venezuela held Presidential elections at the weekend. There have been numerous reports of electoral irregularities and the government of Nicolás Maduro barred the main opposition leaders from participating. The result will likely exacerbate the political crisis in the South American country.
“There is an urgent need to resolve the current political impasse through peaceful dialogue. The Venezuelan people need to decide Venezuela’s future. We support the efforts of the Lima Group, Spain, and the United States to advocate for democracy in Venezuela,” says Mr Peters.
The Lima Group includes Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana, and Saint Lucia.
“It is essential that the Venezuelan government respects democratic norms and institutions and protects the human rights of its citizens. This includes releasing all political prisoners.
“New Zealand stands ready to support any regional and international efforts to facilitate a national dialogue in Venezuela that would allow truly free and fair elections to be held.” Mr Peters says.
Mr Peters also announced $145,000 in relief aid for Colombia and Brazil in the wake of a growing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela to be directed through the United Nations.
“The two countries are coping with an influx of Venezuelans fleeing a political and humanitarian crisis in their own country,” Mr Peters says.
Background
The political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is impacting all of Latin America, but especially Colombia and Brazil. New Zealand has strong and growing relationships with these countries and it is in our interests to support them with both humanitarian funding and with public statements of support in their time of need. This growing relationship is evidenced by the opening of the New Zealand Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia earlier this year

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