Mr. Chair — The United States is deeply concerned by the rising tensions and violence we’ve seen during ongoing protests in Venezuela and we express our condolences to the families of those who recently lost their lives as a result of this tragic violence. The United States is currently engaged in consultations with others as we call for calm and to avoid further bloodshed in Venezuela. We will remain engaged.
We join with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and many of the governments around this table at the Permanent Council, in condemning this violence and in urging all parties to work to restore calm.
Freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly are universal human rights. They are essential to a functioning democracy, and the Venezuelan government has an obligation to protect these fundamental freedoms as well as the safety of its citizens.
Stability, in Venezuela and throughout the region, would best be served by the initiation of a genuine dialogue between the ruling party and its domestic opposition.