23/04/18 | 15/11 (30/11/2015), BILATERAL | Luis de Grands. PPE

The Democratic Opposition prepares itself to take a decisive step to allow Venezuelans reinforce the hope that change is possible, and the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) is an essential instrument to make effective the victory that polls indicate.

The totalitarian Maduro’s regime demands an undisputed success. Victory needs to be strong and that results in a sufficient majority to allow, within the framework of the Venezuelan Constitution, passing laws to strengthen democratic standard rules, restore the independence of the judicial branch and so many things to return to Venezuela its lost prestige.

The recent decision of the Electoral National Council, announcing the international support program to govern the electoral process of December 6, highlights the difficult situation of the democratic process in Venezuela. They have not had the guarantee of the Venezuelan electoral body, organizations like the EU or the OAS, as well as the important role of electoral missions themselves, which would generate the necessary confidence in a country marked by political confrontation.

However, without unity there will not be victory. So, legitimate differences between parties must be put aside. Patriotism should be imposed to differences. Unity of action and only unity is the key to recover rights.

The recent sentence to 13 years and 9 months in prison to the oppositor Leopoldo López urges to the desired recovery of rights and freedoms.

Beside López, they are waiting in the dungeons Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos andmore than 70 prisoners not tried, imprisoned and that have to be protected getting them out of the anonymity.

The situation they are exposed was verified by the Opinion No. 26/2014 adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations, where it was demanded the immediate release of Leopoldo López “the arrest has been executed without any issued order of any judicial authority; it has been extended for a period of over 6 months (being finally 19); he has been exposed to isolation; released on bail has not been guaranted, and the obstacles placed to defense lawyers including censorship of his communications with the detainee, affecting the right to presumption of innocence, fair trial and due process”.

It was estimated that the deprivation of liberty “in order to restrict his political rights and the exercise of his rights to freedom of thought, opinion, expression, assembly and political association” constituted an arbitrary detention.

From the European Parliament, we also wanted to advocate for freedom in Venezuela, pronouncing with three resolutions adopted since early 2014 condemning the serious situation faced by those who are now detained for protests and political reasons.

And I go back to the original idea: unity as a means, not an end, is the key to success.

Therefore, some of us want too, from here, to contribute to the search for another unit that would give visibility and protection to the opposition and defenceless prisoners.

We have proposed and already won over other most worthy candidates, within the EPP Group in the European Parliament’s Sakharov prize nomination for the “Venezuelan Democratic Opposition, represented by MUD and political prisoners”.

Now it is, in my opinion, to convince other political groups in the European Parliament on the goodness of this proposal. The prestige of the Sakharov prize has universal knowledge and joins conditions and aptitudes to be a shared proposal.

Some MEPs from the ALDE Group share the same idea and I make a call to other parliamentary groups to join a task that would be of all of us.

To president Maduro this will seem an interference. However, for the European Parliament there has never been borders that prevented the defense of Human Rights and Freedoms.