Switzerland calls for ‘restraint’ in Venezuela

Opposition demonstrators confront military vehicles near the 'La Carlota' air base in Caracas, Venezuela on Wednesday. Reuters

Switzerland is calling for restraint in Venezuela, where a coup d'état attempt led by the country's self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó left dozens injured on Wednesday.

This content was published on May 2, 2019 - 10:44

"Switzerland is following closely and with concern the events in Venezuela and urges the interested parties to act with moderation and resolve the political crisis in accordance with the constitution," the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) told swissinfo.ch on Thursday.

The ministry called on the government of President Nicolas Maduro "to guarantee the security of the population, as well as freedom of assembly and expression”. It also urged security forces to refrain "from all acts of disproportionate violence".

The FDFA stated that "Venezuela's National Assembly was democratically elected in 2015" and added that "its competencies and prerogatives must be respected and the security of its members and its president, Juan Guaidó, assured”.

Protecting power in limbo

Venezuela, the FDFA noted, has not yet responded to the US request for Switzerland to represent its interests in the South American country.

The agreement was signed in the Swiss capital Bern last month by Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis and the US ambassador to Switzerland, Edward McMullen. This representation of interests concerns mainly consular services for US citizens in Venezuela, according to the statement. If Venezuela accepts, Switzerland's “protecting power” mandate will be implemented.

Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations with the US after it recognised the opposition leader as president.

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