Statement on Venezuela from The Carter Center

25 Feb 2003

CONTACT: Deanna Congileo
ATLANTA….The Carter Center deplores the escalation of violence in Caracas in the last week and deplores the bombings of the diplomatic missions of Colombia and Spain in Caracas.

We call on the leadership of the country to hear the demand of the Venezuelan people for reconciliation and an end to violence in their country.

We believe that verbal violence and threatening tone of political leaders, amplified by the media, encourage violent behavior. We therefore urge President Hugo Chavez and the leaders of the opposition Coordinadora Democratica, as well as the chiefs of the media, to sign the Declaration Against Violence and for Peace and Democracy, subscribed by the members of the Negotiation and Dialogue Table on Feb. 18, 2003. We are concerned that the events during the past week undermine the confidence of the Venezuelan people in their leaders' commitment to the Declaration, and we urge these same leaders to demonstrate their unequivocal and active adherence to the commitments stated in that Declaration.

We alert the international community to the rapid deterioration in the Venezuelan situation. While respecting national sovereignty and democratic institutions, we urge the international community to redouble support for all the initiatives designed to produce a democratic, peaceful, constitutional and electoral solution to the present crisis.

The Carter Center reiterates its commitment to the efforts led by the Secretary General of the OAS, Cesar Gaviria, in the Negotiation and Dialogue Table and to the people of Venezuela who favor peace.