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Venezuelans in Ireland want the Irish government to speak up against Maduro

“It’s becoming more and more difficult to find food, medicines and basic household groceries.”

VENEZUELAN CITIZENS LIVING in Ireland have said that the international community must stand up to the violence in Venezuela, and have called on the Irish government to speak out against the human rights violations caused by the country’s government.

On Sunday, a widely divisive election took place to pick an assembly made up only of members of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s Socialist party. It will have the power to dissolve the opposition-controlled congress and rewrite the constitution.

The opposition says the vote is a fraudulent ploy by Maduro to cling to power; it also says he’s so unpopular he couldn’t possibly win an election.

On election day, 10 people died in violence brought on from protests (protests which President Maduro forbade the morning before) and the US reacted by advising those in its embassy to travel out of the country.

Today, a group representing Venezuelans living in Ireland said it rejects the Constituent Assembly at the heart of Sunday’s election and condemned the human rights violations that have sparked unrest in the city’s capital Caracas.

They want an international response to the violence and harsh conditions that many of their friends and family back home still endure.

Venezuelan Jorge De Vega told TheJournal.ie:

“Any country that gives to the Venezuelan people its support by raising its voice is important, because firstly it shows the government of Venezuela that what they are doing is not right and that they should stop; and secondly, it shows to the Venezuelans that they are not alone against a government that is using bullets to get what they could not with votes.”

EU sanctions

In the wake of the election result on Sunday, the US imposed sanctions on Maduro, which has freezed his US assets and bans firms from doing business with him.

Yesterday, Spain’s foreign minister Alfonso Dastis said he’ll ask the European Union to apply targeted sanctions against “those responsible” for the Venezuela crisis.

He was speaking just hours after the arrest of two Venezuelan opposition leaders, Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, who were arrested after calling a boycott of the vote.

“I have decided to get in touch with the high representative (for foreign affairs) to kickstart a process to adopt additional restrictive measures,” Dastis told reporters.

But he cautioned that Spain was against taking economic “sanctions that could affect people” in Venezuela.

It backed “sanctions that can affect those responsible for the current situation” such as travel bans or visa restrictions, he said.

De Vega says that if the country’s laws allow it, there should be sanctions put in place.

“Yes, it should be done if that will help to stop the horror that the Venezuelan people is living, but again, only if the laws of the country allow it.”

“Each time we contact [friends and family members] what we hear is that it’s becoming more and more difficult to find food, medicines and basic household groceries.

They have constant disruption to essential services like water, power and gas, and prices are getting higher and higher – if you are lucky and you can find something that you need.

“The criminality is getting worse each day and you can be victim of a robbery or get killed at anytime and anywhere.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs told TheJournal.ie that “decisions on sanctions are coordinated at EU level” and that “Ireland will participate fully” in discussions on the subject.

- With reporting from AFP

Read: Venezuelan President claims victory as 10 die in violent protests

Read: ‘I watch the news and cry and cry’: Venezuelans in Ireland on the chaos back home

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