Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Venezuela faces uncertain future
July 20, 2017
Ottawa – The deepening political crisis in Venezuela risks worsening a humanitarian disaster as ongoing turmoil sows death, disease and destruction.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade is calling on the Canadian government to play a leadership role in supporting the rule of law and human rights in Venezuela. The government should, for instance, continue to support projects from the Canadian embassy’s Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives, which focuses on building the capacity of Venezuelan non-governmental organizations.
Canada has a stake in finding a favourable resolution to the Venezuela situation and should undertake a leadership role in ensuring humanitarian aid reaches those who need it most, the committee said in a report released Thursday.
The report, The Deepening Crisis in Venezuela: Canadian and Regional Stakes, outlines Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s efforts to undermine Venezuela’s democratic and judicial institutions, including plans to rewrite the constitution through a questionable process that committee witnesses said could confirm the country as a “full dictatorship.”
Triple-digit inflation and a shrinking economy is making it difficult for Venezuelans to produce and afford even basic necessities; lack of medical supplies and collapsing health services are leading to increasing infant and maternal mortality rates while once-eradicated diseases like diphtheria and malaria are resurgent.
Meanwhile, President Maduro refuses to acknowledge the grim situation and has refused repeated offers of humanitarian assistance. Control of food and medical provisions rests in the hands of the Venezuelan military; its soldiers distribute these goods for their own purposes or price them out of reach of those who need them.
The committee will continue to monitor the evolving situation in Venezuela and encourages Venezuelans to work toward a peaceful and lasting solution to the political and humanitarian crises.
- On July 16, 2017, 98% of voters in an unofficial, opposition-run plebiscite voted overwhelmingly against Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro’s proposed changes to the country’s democratic institutions.
- Witnesses told the committee that Venezuelan government’s actions have resulted in over 60 deaths, 3,000 casualties and 2,000 arrests since April 2017.
- The inflation rate in Venezuela is estimated to be 741%.
“The situation in Venezuela is alarming. The humanitarian disaster now unfolding is compounded by the uncertain political climate. We urge the Venezuelan government to listen to its citizens, to accept outside help and to recommit to the promotion of democratic values, human rights and the rule of law.”
- Senator Raynell Andreychuk, Chair of the committee
- Read the report, The Deepening Crisis in Venezuela: Canadian and Regional Stakes.
- Follow the committee on social media using the hashtag #AEFA.
- Sign up for the Senate’s eNewsletter.
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