European Parliament President Martin Schulz warned on Tuesday (23 August) that Venezuela’s democracy is “in danger”, as it grapples with a severe political and economic crisis.
“The situation in Venezuela is dramatic and worrisome,” Schulz said, following an official visit to neighboring Colombia, where many Venezuelans have poured in to buy basic goods due to major shortages in their country.
“In Venezuela, we see a majority of the population suffering and a country with so much wealth having a population that fights each day for its survival,” Schulz added in Bogota, speaking in German after talks with President Juan Manuel Santos.
As for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro’s government, Schulz stressed that “Its abilities depend on its legitimacy. However, the last general elections showed that a large majority of the population disagrees with what the government is doing. The government should be reacting accordingly.”
“Democracy is in danger in Venezuela,” added Schulz.
“It’s important for the parties to keep all avenues open for a national dialogue. But I won’t hide the fact that we are extremely concerned.”
Venezuela is facing a deep economic recession fueled by the fall in the price of oil, which accounts for 96% of its exports. Due to a lack of dollars for imports, some 80% of basic goods are affected by shortages.
Maduro blames his country’s troubles on the drop in crude prices and an “economic war” led by the business world and the opposition to destabilize his government.