The Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter Call on Venezuelan Government to Restore Constitutional Order

Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,

(En español)

The Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter express alarm at the breakdown of the constitutional order in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which has had devastating effects on the Venezuelan people and their human rights.

Alarming food shortages and health crises now affect all sectors of society, particularly the most vulnerable groups. The electoral event held on Sunday, May 20, was neither free nor fair, and thus cannot be recognized as a legitimate expression of the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people.

The Friends of the Charter express their strongest condemnation of these serious violations and urge the government of Venezuela to adopt the following measures, in accordance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter and international agreements on human rights:

  1. Respect the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. All authorities, especially President Nicolás Maduro, the National Constituent Assembly, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the Attorney General of the Republic, must show this respect, and all authorities must be elected and appointed in accordance with the 1999 Constitution. The separation and independence of powers, in particular the constitutional powers of the National Assembly elected in December 2015, are a legitimate expression of popular sovereignty and must be respected. To this end, in accordance with the 1999 Constitution and popular sovereignty, the National Constituent Assembly must stop functioning immediately.
  2. Open channels of international humanitarian aid and assistance to respond to the food and medicine shortages in a transparent manner, relying on the church and civil society organizations.
  3. Hold free and fair elections, convened in accordance with the constitution, by a new impartial and independent National Electoral Council, appointed in accordance with the constitutional requirements and procedures by the National Assembly.
  4. Respect and guarantee the human rights of everyone, including political opponents, journalists, and human rights defenders.
  5. Withdraw the letter of resignation to the Organization of American States and re-ratify the American Convention on Human Rights.

Finally, the Friends of the Charter call on other OAS member states to adopt appropriate measures according to the OAS charter and international law, including those proposed by the OAS secretary-general and the Lima Group, to ensure the normalization of democratic institutions in Venezuela as soon as possible. We call on the international community to support the adoption of these measures and to carry out initiatives to support the normalization of democratic institutions in Venezuela.

Diego Abente Brun (Paraguay)
Mariclaire Acosta (Mexico)
Nicolás Ardito Bartletta Vallarino (Panama)
Cecilia Blondet (Peru)
Catalina Botero Marino (Colombia)
Santiago Cantón (Argentina)
Jorge Castañeda (Mexico)
Joe Clark (Canada)
Humberto de la Calle (Colombia)
Alejandro Foxley (Chile) 
John Graham (Canada)
Serena Joseph-Harris (Trinidad & Tobago)
Samuel Lewis (Panama)
John Maisto (USA)
Carlos Mesa (Bolivia)
Sonia Picado (Costa Rica)
Sergio Ramirez (Nicaragua)
Eduardo Stein (Guatemala)
Fernando Tuesta Soldevilla (Peru)
Joaquín Villalobos (El Salvador)
Jennie K. Lincoln (Executive Secretary – Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter – The Carter Center)

The Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter Formed in 2004, the Friends of the Democratic Charter group is composed of former presidents, prime ministers, and cabinet ministers from the Western Hemisphere who seek to increase the visibility of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and to prevent democratic tensions from erupting into crises. The Friends visit countries to assess democratic tensions, encourage citizens and governments to make use of international resources to defend their democracies and resolve constitutional conflicts, and recommend ways for the OAS to apply the charter in a constructive and preventative manner. The Carter Center serves as secretariat for the Friends.

Los Amigos de la Carta Democrática Interamericana exhortan al estado venezolano para que restaure el orden constitucional inmediatamente


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.