Venezuela Crisis

Canada is deeply concerned by the suffering of the Venezuelan citizens and remains strongly committed to the protection of democracy and human rights. The crisis hit Venezuela after the “economic war” under Maduro government which resulted in deflation of oil prices and production has strike the country hard leading to closure of several companies, political corruption, hyperinflation and drastic increase in unemployment. The country’s public health system has collapsed, leaving many without access to lifesaving medicine. The rates of several preventable diseases have risen.

The socialist government under Hugo Chavez and later Nicolas Maduro had won a series of what were widely considered democratic elections. Chavez died in 2013 and was succeeded by his vice-president, Maduro. In 2015, Maduro narrowly beat opposition challenger Henrique Capriles to win the presidency by 1.5 percentage points. Government critics say the country is a dictatorship, because it doesn’t have fair elections or an independent legal system. Just two weeks after Mr. Maduro was sworn in for a second term in January, Mr. Guaidó declared himself the interim president, directly challenging the country’s leadership.

Canada has closed all the diplomatic ties with Venezuela and advised all the Canadians to leave Venezuela and not to travel to the country until further notice. All diplomatic sanctions are now done by Bogota in Colombia. Canada is a democratic country and firmly believes in democratic roots promoting democratic values across the globe. Venezuelan authorities have committed crimes against humanity in their crackdown on anti-government protests and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate. The rights group said President Nicolas Maduro’s government responded with “a systematic and widespread policy of repression” in late January.

Mr. Trump, with the 2020 election clearly in mind, has sought to frame the Venezuela crisis as an example of the failure of socialism. His administration has taken several economic steps to pressure Mr. Maduro, including a ban on American purchases of Venezuela oil, the country’s economic lifeline. The United States also has called on other members of the United Nations to revoke the credentials of Mr. Maduro’s delegation. Mr. Trump has not ruled out the use of military force in Venezuela, setting up a potential conflict with Russia, which backs Mr. Maduro. He also is supported by the long-time Venezuela allies Cuba and Bolivia.