The worsening of the living conditions in Venezuela associated with the multidimensional crisis that hit the country is impacting an increasingly higher number of Venezuelans.

The refusal of the regime to recognise the humanitarian emergency is leading to an escalation of tensions. There are worrying reports of unrest, acts of violence and a growing number of victims, in particular in the border areas and among the Pemon indigenous community.

We strongly call on law enforcement and security bodies to show restraint, avoid use of force and allow for the entry of aid. We repudiate the use of irregular armed groups to intimidate civilians and lawmakers who have mobilised to distribute assistance.

The European Union has already committed more than 60 million euros in 2018/19 in humanitarian and development aid, aimed at alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable. We recall our commitment to help those in need for as long as it takes, to scale up this assistance and to work on stronger and more inclusive coordination mechanisms under the leadership of the relevant UN agencies in full accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

The origins of the ongoing crisis in Venezuela are political and institutional, hence the solution can only be a political one. We reiterate our firm rejection and condemnation of violence and of any initiatives that can further destabilise the region.

The Venezuelan people have already suffered a lot. It is high time to let them decide their future. We strongly renew our call for the restoration of democracy through free, transparent and credible presidential elections. The EU, through the International Contact Group, stands ready to support this process.