US, Latin lawmakers urge Venezuela to allow election observers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 150 U.S. and Latin American lawmakers sent a letter to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Wednesday, urging him to let international observers monitor the country’s crucial Dec. 6 legislative elections.
The letter expressed concern that several opposition candidates have been barred from participating and called for the immediate release of jailed opposition and student leaders.
“This situation contributes to a public perception that the current electoral climate in the country is defined by political bias and an absence of full electoral safeguards,” the letter said.
The elections are being held as the socialist government faces the prospect of losing control over the National Assembly for the first time since Maduro’s predecessor, the late Hugo Chávez, came to power.
The oil-rich country’s economy has been battered by a plunge in crude price, runaway inflation and widespread shortages of staples and medicine. Violent crime and political tension have added to the pervasive sense of insecurity.
In their letter, the 157 lawmakers from the United States, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru urged Maduro to allow election observers from the Organization of American States and the European Union.
“As citizens go to the polls, the presence of qualified international observers would permit all Venezuelans to have the highest degree of confidence in the integrity of the process and the electoral results,” it said.
The Venezuelan government has so far invited only an observer mission from UNASUR, a South American regional grouping that Venezuela helped to form, and has specifically rejected an OAS observer mission.
The OAS’s secretary general, Luis Almagro of Uruguay, warned Tuesday that conditions for the vote “do not ensure transparency and electoral justice.”
National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello, the country’s second most powerful politician after Maduro, responded by calling the OAS “the world’s most twisted, corrupt and poorly regarded institution.”
You may be interested
Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Thursday, October 1Alejandro Zúñiga - October 1, 2020
Costa Rica announced 13 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 917, according to official data…
Costa Rica’s Raquel Rodríguez impresses with NWSL goalThe Tico Times - October 1, 2020
Decorated women's football star Raquel Rodríguez helped the Portland Thorns defeat National Women's Soccer League rivals OL Reign with an…
Special fall prices on All-on-Four dental implants in Costa RicaJames Madigan / Costa Rica Dental Guide - October 1, 2020
Dental patients from the USA and Canada are finally arriving back in Costa Rica after almost seven long months of…