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Venezuela Communique From Tripartite Group (OAS, UNDP, and The Carter Center)

Click here for statement in Spanish.

1. A mission of officials from the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and The Carter Center concluded a five-day visit to Venezuela today, in response to invitations from the Government and the various opposition groups in the Coordinadora Democrática.

2. We would like to thank the Venezuelans for their warm welcome, their cordiality, and their candor, and especially the democratically elected Government of President Hugo Chávez Frías and the Coordinadora Democrática for their confidence in this Mission.

3. The OAS, the UNDP, and The Carter Center understand that Venezuela's problems can and should be solved by Venezuelans within the framework of the Constitution and the law. Along these lines, we have always been clear-sighted about the principles that govern us-absolute respect for sovereignty and self-determination, nonintervention, and recognition of the responsibility of the Venezuelans.

4. During the Mission's stay in the country, it met with the highest-level government officials and with opposition figures, as well as with members of the National Assembly, leaders of political parties and labor union organizations, the Conference of Bishops, and leaders of employers' organizations and the media.

5. We have listened to these people express deep concern about the factors that exacerbate the discord, for example, intolerance, confrontation with and through the mass media, provocative language, de facto acts, and recourse to verbal and physical aggression that goes well beyond civilized political controversy.

We consider that the persistence of this type of attitude and behavior will heighten tension and increase possibilities of further acts of violence.

6. Every sector has expressed its genuine readiness for dialogue as a necessary instrument to defuse the country's conflicts and strengthen the rule of law. Based on the principle of good faith, we understand that their participation in this process should constitute a serious and decisive commitment.

7. The Mission has moved forward jointly with the Government, the opposition, and other sectors, in signing a Declaration of Principles for Peace and Democracy in Venezuela, which would serve as a framework for dialogue based on mutual respect.

8. It is clear from the comments made by the national actors that there is an urgent need to give new legitimacy, through any necessary political agreements and in the framework of the Constitution, the law, and the separation of powers, to some of the branches of Government, including the moral, judicial, and electoral ones.

9. The Mission has noted points of agreement between the Government and the opposition, which it deems to be very relevant and which could be addressed immediately, such as:

· Fully setting in motion all the mechanisms provided for in the Constitution for the participation of citizens in elections, the removal or continued service of their representatives-a topic that is inextricably linked to consideration of an electoral package.
· The determination the events that occurred last April and the respective establishment of responsibilities, with possible international participation.
· The disarming of the civilian population, both organizations and individuals.

10. We also underscore the willingness expressed to this Mission by the deputies of the National Assembly and their guidelines regarding the immediate consideration of all necessary laws, on the basis of national rather than sectoral or party interests.

11. The national actors of this Mission mentioned topics that should be part of a broader agenda, including the status of political deliberation within the armed forces and the situation of labor union representation.

12. The representatives of the media, including some of the community media, expressed concern over the unsafe conditions in which they must fulfill their duty of reporting impartially. It would be very important to apply the precautionary measures issued by the inter-American human rights system.

13. At a time when the various national sectors and the international community are focused on the generation of minimal conditions for a concerted way out of the present situation in the country, the Mission deems it of special importance to urge all Venezuelans to refrain from actions or words that do not contribute to social harmony.

14. Mindful of the suggestions made by all persons interviewed, the Mission will consider how it may continue to provide technical and political support to the process, reaffirming its commitment to remain at the side of Venezuelans in the challenge to resume the search for solutions in a peaceful and democratic manner.

Caracas, September 13, 2002

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