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Open Letter: from Club de Madrid to the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Open Letter: from Club de Madrid to the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

April 29, 2015

We, Members of Club de Madrid, an independent organization at the service of Democracy and the promotion of its values worldwide, comprising more than a hundred democratic former Heads of State and Government from over 70 countries, express our deepest concern for the difficult social, economic and political situation in Venezuela.

Compelled by our commitment to addressing the challenges these situations entail and drawing on our own, individual and collective experience in similar situations in our respective countries, we offer our support, always within the limits of Venezuelan legislation, to open up spaces of dialogue between the Government, the different political forces and civil society organizations so that Venezuela may recover the climate of peace, stability and prosperity to which the people of Venezuela are entitled.

To this end, once again, we urge the Government to free all those citizens who are in prison today for having exercised their right to freedom of expression and all those political leaders who, for this very reason, are being deprived of this freedom. Much to our regret we note that their situation has not improved and thus, with all due respect, we reiterate that all those persons who, like Antonio Ledezma, Leopoldo López, Daniel Ceballos and others, are still in prison or detained, must be set free. We also endorse the use of precautionary measures in their benefit as prescribed by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, in their Declaration on April 20.

These individuals and leaders must have a free and fair trial, allowing them to exercise the right to defend themselves and their actions, with all the guarantees provided by Venezuelan legislation and universal human and civil rights principles. We, therefore, claim our right to collaborate with these individuals and political leaders so that they may prove their innocence. This is why we unconditionally support our colleague Felipe González’s offer to work with the defense counsels, a procedure that is in full accordance with Venezuelan and international laws.

Likewise, and with a spirit of harmony and agreement, we respectfully but firmly also claim our right to appear in the oral hearing of Leopoldo López, scheduled for May 17th, 18th and 19th, as well as in those of the other individuals and political leaders in similar situations. We claim this right to be granted and its exercise recognized by the authorities without hindrances of any kind.

Club de Madrid signatories of the Open Letter to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Oscar Arias - President of Costa Rica (1986-1990: 2006-2010) Felipe Calderón - President of Mexico (2006-2012)
Micheline Calmy-Rey - President of Switzerland (2007 y 2011) Fernando Henrique Cardoso - President of Brazil (1995-2003)
Philip Dimitrov - Prime Minister of Bulgary (1991-1992) Vicente Fox - President of Mexico (2000-2006)
Eduardo Frei -President of  Chile (1994-2000) Felipe Gonzalez - President of Spain (1982-1996)
Osvaldo Hurtado - President of Ecuador (1981-1984) Seung-soo Hang Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea (2008-2009)
Chandrika Kumaratunga President Sri Lanka (1994-2005) Aleksander Kwasniewski -President of Poland (1995-2005)
Luis Alberto Lacalle - President of  Uruguay (1990-1995) Ricardo Lagos - President of Chile (2000-2006)
Zatko Lagumdzija - Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001-2002) Yves Leterme - Prime Minister of Belgium (2008; 2009-2011)
Ruud Lubbers - Prime Minister of The Netherlands (1982-1994)

Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro President Cape Verde (1991-2001)


Sebastián Piñera - President of Chile (2010-2014) Andres Pastrana - President of Colombia (1998-2002)
Olusegun Obasanjo - President of Nigeria (1976-1979) y (1999-2007 Petre Roman - Prime Minister of Rumania (1989-1991)
Iveta Radicova - Prime Minister of Slovaquia (2010-2012) Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta President of Timor-Leste (2007-2012)
Julio Maria Sanguinetti - President of Uruguay (1985-1990; 1995-2000) Alejandro Toledo- President of Peru (2001-2006)
Vaira Vike-Freiberga - President of Latvia (1999-2007). President of the Club de Madrid Jorge Quiroga - President of  Bolivia (2001-2002). Vicepresident of the Club de Madrid



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