All tools to be used to support Portuguese in Venezuela

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 31-01-2019 10:22:00 · 1 Comments
All tools to be used to support Portuguese in Venezuela

Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa, has said that all state assistance is to be used to support Portuguese citizens in Venezuela and emphasised that Portugal’s diplomatic position on the political crisis in Caracas will be that of the European Union.

Prime Minister Costa said that the unrest in Venezuela, “unfortunately did not begin yesterday, but has been going on for the last few years.”

“The Portuguese community is well aware of the support and proximity that the consular services and the government have continuously provided.

“This solidarity is total, and all Portuguese state tools will be used according to the needs, and our desire is that […] calm and tranquillity can quickly return to Venezuela, guaranteeing the safety of all Portuguese residents there,” Costa said.

On the political and diplomatic level, Portugal, according to Costa, “has worked with EU countries to have a joint position.”
“This position has combined among all Member-States. The EU will establish its position – and that will also be the position of Portugal,” Costa added.

Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, has in the past week proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela before thousands of people gathered in Caracas.

President Maduro began his second six-year term on 10 January, after an electoral victory which did not have its legitimacy recognised by the opposition or the international community.

The US, the Organization of American States and almost all Latin American countries, except Mexico, Bolivia and Cuba, and Russia – which remain beside Maduro, who they consider the democratically elected president of Venezuela -, have already recognised Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela.

For its part, the EU defended the democratic legitimacy of the Venezuelan parliament, stressing that “civil rights, freedom and security of all members of the parliament, including its president, Guaidó, should be fully respected” and called on the “immediate opening of a political process that leads to free and credible elections according to constitutional rule.

Venezuela, where about 300,000 Portuguese people or with Portuguese descent reside, has faced a serious political and economic crisis that has led to 2.3 million people fleeing the country since 2015, according to UN data.

Meanwhile, Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has called on Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro to either agree to hold free elections as soon as possible or the European Union will recognise that only opposition leader Juan Guaidó can do so.

According to Augusto Santos Silva, he said that if Maduro refuses to participate in a “peaceful transition solution”, it will mean that “no one can count on him” and he would stop being a “valid voice” for the Portuguese community.

In related news, people on the ground say the large Portuguese community in Venezuela is divided on the political standoff that has left the country split between those who back and oppose the government of Nicolas Maduro.

According to José Fernando de Campos, the official charged with liaising with Portuguese, said that it was not possible to speak on behalf of the community as a whole on this issue, since while some of its members support Maduro, others back the speaker of parliament, Juan Guaidó.

“Speaking on behalf of the community is a bit difficult,” said Campos. “We can give a special personal perception of what we see and feel in the community, but never speak on behalf of the community.”


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