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Prague shows concern over Venezuela presidential election result

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Prague, May 21 (CTK) – The Czech Foreign Ministry is deeply concerned about the result of Venezuela’s presidential election which lacked fundamental democratic elements and in which low turnout proved the resignation and fear of the local people, it writes on its website.

Leftist authoritarian leader Nicolas Maduro, who has been president since the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, defended his post on Sunday.

The ministry said political parties and organisations have been permanently attacked in Venezuela and human rights and fundamental freedoms have not been fully respected.

It said Venezuela’s government should launch a constructive dialogue with the opposition, release political prisoners and start restoring order and democratic freedom in the country.

The Czech Republic will keep supporting the EU policy towards Venezuela, the ministry said.

Only political pressure exerted by the international community and regional groups can lead to a change in the political development in Venezuela, it said.

Some opposition leaders were not allowed to run for president because Venezuela’s authorities banned them from public posts or because they were imprisoned for an alleged conspiracy against the government. A large part of the opposition boycotted the election, which resulted in a record low turnout of 46 percent.

The Lima Group, including 13 Latin American countries and Canada, did not recognise the result of Venezuela’s presidential election on Monday and these countries plan to recall their ambassadors in Caracas for consultations.

Venezuela has been suffering from a deep economic crisis for about five years. Though the country is rich in oil sources, its economy is threatened with inflation of up to 2000 percent. Critics say the government’s impotence and corruption caused the current miserable situation.

Czech expatriates living in Venezuela started returning due to the bad economic situation and political oppression.

About ten families have already moved to the Czech Republic. The Czech Interior Ministry, which organises the repatriation, is in contact with further families. About 500 people who have Czech citizenship or Czech roots are based in Venezuela, according to the Foreign Ministry.

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