News Daily Spot: Letters from 5 world leaders: Venezuela Cry Freedom

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Letters from 5 world leaders: Venezuela Cry Freedom

In the political thought of the true democrats, Montesquieu remains an unavoidable reference. The separation of powers is considered inherent to the birth of democracy. The independence of the judiciary, freedom of opinion and expression and respect for universal suffrage are also inextricably linked to Western political culture and therefore all of Latin America. In fact, one of the largest Latin American intellectuals and political references, universal humanist Andres Bello, whose birthday we celebrated on November 29, dedicated his life to make Latin America a key pillar of culture and Western values.

In almost all Latin American countries, therefore, the Constitution enshrines these founding principles of democracy. So, it should not be the victim of persecution or harassment, or arbitrarily imprisoned simply for peacefully opposing the government in power. Nor is it acceptable to be condemned without a fair trial. Liberal or popular democracy without adjectives, is one and universal.

Venezuela is no exception should be. The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela also stands as fundamental principles the values ​​of freedom, justice and political pluralism and democratic exercise of the popular will. It also enshrines the prevalence over domestic law of human rights treaties that have been ratified by the country. In this regard, it should be recalled Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile." And therefore, it should also insist that the Government of Venezuela should respect and implement its own constitution.

On the occasion of peaceful protests that began in February 2014, many opponents, students and political leaders were subjected to arbitrary arrests, which also included European citizens. Some even died. Those who have tried have not been able to exercise freely their defense. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Committee against Torture and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and major non-governmental organizations defending human rights demand the release immediately all those arbitrarily arrested, including the Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma; the Mayor of San Cristobal, Daniel Ceballos, and opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. The latter has been recently sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison, almost in isolation and with false evidence.

Imprisoning a Democrat is betraying democracy. We call on Venezuela to ensure an independent judiciary. And we call on the Venezuelan Justice to immediately release all Leopoldo Lopez and imprisoned political opponents.

Venezuela is a great country, which has been exemplary and generous. After the Spanish Civil War and World War II, hundreds of thousands of European immigrants and exiles in Venezuela found new hope, new opportunities. After global cataclysm, Venezuelans opened his arms and the doors of his homeland. Consequently, the European Parliament, among others, was clear in its latest resolution on the situation in Venezuela (March 12, 2015), because "urges the EU, its Member States and the international community to make statements and take measures to show solidarity with the Venezuelan people in this difficult period. " We do, therefore, but returned solidarity solidarity.

On December 6 legislative elections held to renew the National Assembly of Venezuela. Several candidates have been disqualified by the political authorities, who also reject the presence of independent international observers proposed by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union. This attitude is very worrying. The Secretary General of the OAS has already highlighted concern over the electoral conditions in an unprecedented public letter addressed to the president of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela. He has not received explanations but unacceptable insults. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has again expressed its concern after the murder, on 25 November, an opposition leader at a rally with Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed leader Leopoldo Lopez. We join his pronouncements: democracy does not work when the electoral environment is dominated by violence, threats and intimidation of the opposition.

President Maduro is the guarantor of the Constitution. You must ensure that truly free, transparent and peaceful elections are held. And should respect the result. It is an essential condition for the peaceful coexistence of the Venezuelan people.

We can not be indifferent to the legitimate claims of the Venezuelan democratic opposition. Not saying anything is also taking sides. Demand freedom, democracy and respect for human rights in Venezuela is not interference: it is our duty as democrats. These are universal values ​​we stand for everyone, not just for us.

The undersigned we appeal to all the democracies to join our request and protect our common civic heritage together. We denounce the arbitrary and defend democracy and freedom.

Mariano Rajoy Brey, Prime Minister of Spain.

David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Felipe González, former Prime Minister of Spain.

Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile.

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