Political and Economic Crisis Escalates in Venezuela

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday urged the Government in Venezuela and the opposition to relaunch negotiations for the benefit of the Venezuelan people.

Mr. Guterres expressed concern over the recent developments that could lead to further escalation of tensions and hamper a peaceful solution to the crisis.

A statement from Mr. Guterres’ spokesman said the UN chief is closely following events in the country and is convinced the crisis cannot be solved through the imposition of unilateral measures, but requires a political solution based on dialogue and compromise.

“At this critical time,” the Secretary-General urged the Venezuelan Government and the opposition to relaunch negotiations for the benefit of the country’s people, said the statement.

It added that Mr. Guterres is strongly supporting the ongoing efforts of the international facilitators and regional actors who are seeking to contribute to this end.

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According to a UN report, the Secretary-General and other top UN officials have been calling for calm amid the escalating political and economic crisis in Venezuela when mass street demonstrations began in the country in April.

In the months that followed, clashes erupted between security forces and protestors opposing elections for the so-called Constituent Assembly.

According to media reports, President Nicolás Maduro has since declared victory in elections for a Constituent Assembly convened by him. The new body could replace the current legislative body, the National Assembly.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, warned Tuesday that since the wave of demonstrations began in April, there has been a clear pattern of excessive force used against protesters.

“Several thousand people have been arbitrarily detained, many reportedly subjected to ill-treatment and even torture, while several hundred have been brought before military rather than civilian courts. And these patterns show no signs of abating,” said the High Commissioner in a statement from his spokesperson.

Courtesy: UN

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Rakesh Raman