ADDRESS BY Amb.
Roger F. Noriega U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS Meeting
of the Permanent Council
REJECT VIOLENCE, RETURN TO DIALOGUE
December 9, 2002
The United States calls on the Venezuelan Government to respect
and protect Venezuelans' fundamental freedoms, and adhere to the
Inter-American Democratic Charter and its essential elements of
democracy, which Venezuela has committed to honor. It is time for
Venezuela's civilian, democratic institutions - the National
Assembly, the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, the Defender of
the People, and the Executive - to reflect upon their role on
overcoming Venezuela's national tragedy.
Last Friday's violence, perpetrated by armed civilians, once again
claimed the lives of peaceful opposition demonstrators in
Venezuela. We offer our heart- felt condolences to the families of
those who died or were wounded last Friday and in April.
The United States calls upon Venezuelan police and judicial
institutions to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation
and vigorous prosecution of all of those
responsible for the tragic events of last Friday and in April. It
is critically important that the Venezuelan justice system carry
out these duties unhindered by political influence, and in the
spirit of objectivity and impartiality.
The United States hopes that these deplorable acts will not lead
to further violence in the senseless cycle of confrontation that V
enezuelahas been experiencing. We call on all sides to reject
violence, act responsibly, respect constitutional processes,
return to the dialogue table to work toward an electoral solution
and national reconciliation.
The United States reiterates its complete support and appreciation
for Secretary General Gaviria's tireless efforts - under very
difficult circumstances - to facilitate a peaceful, democratic,
constitutional and electoral solution to Venezuela's political
crisis. We ask that Venezuelans reflect upon other recent examples
in the Western Hemisphere in which political crises have been
resolved by leaders who have chosen to act peacefully and
We recognize the many strong statements in support of the
Secretary General's mission in Caracas that have been issued
throughout the past week by fellow OAS member states, the Chairman
of the Permanent Council, and other organizations.
In the wake of yet another violent tragedy in Caracas, it is
essential that the Venezuelan government provide the safety and
security necessary for the people of Venezuela peacefully exercise
their fundamental freedoms, and that the government and opposition
return to the dialogue table to resolve their differences.