The former president of the Government and president of the FAES Foundation, José María Aznar, along with 27 former Latin Acan presidents who signed the Declarations of Panama and Caracas, now in a letter call upon the Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro to hold “free, fair and impartial” elections to the National Assembly next December 6th, stating their “willingness to collaborate as observers so the elections can be held in a climate of confidence and total transparency”. Copies of this letter have been forwarded to the United States president Barack Obama; to His Holiness Pope Francis and to the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, among other dignitaries.
In their letter to Maduro, the former presidents have expressed their satisfaction with the calling of parliamentary elections in Venezuela, as “it is the only way to solve the political and social disputes that divide the country”, although they demand previous and necessary requirements for these elections.
Among them, they stress the need for the “absolute impartiality of electoral power and the verification by independent observers that the technology being used in the process is inviolable”. They also demand “the presence of all political actors in the public debate, including those who are currently deprived of their rights, their freedom or physical integrity, are being threatened or have been disqualified by administrative authorities, like the Mayor of Metropolitan Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, political prisoners Leopoldo López, Daniel Ceballos and Enzo Scarano and the member of parliament María Corina Machado”.
They also urge Maduro to “respect freedom of speech and to allow the press the exercise of the right to information of citizens, which are essential in any democratic society”. “You have the responsibility and the capacity to address those serious weaknesses”, they say. The 27 former presidents, who reaffirm their willingness to act as observers of the Venezuelan electoral process, also request “impartial missions of the European Union and Organization of American States” to be allowed to join that task of observation.
The signatories underlined the important of notifyng the content of this letter to international dignitaries who are involved in the reestablishment of dialogue and democratic guarantees in Venezuela, such as the United States president, Barack Obama; His Holiness Pope Francis, and the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, among others, to whom they have forwarded a copy of the letter.
The letter to Maduro was signed by 27 former presidents from Spain and Latin America: from Bolivia, Jorge Quiroga; from Chile, Sebastián Piñera, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle and Ricardo Lagos; from Colombia, Andrés Pastrana, Álvaro Uribe and Belisario Betancur; from Costa Rica, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Rafael Ángel Calderón, Laura Chinchilla, Óscar Arias and Luis Alberto Monge; from Ecuador, Osvaldo Hurtado, Lucio Gutiérrez, Sixto Durán Ballén and Gustavo Noboa; from El Salvador, Alfredo Cristiani, Armando Calderón Sol; from Spain, José María Aznar; from Mexico, Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox; from Panama, Mireya Moscoso, Nicolás Ardito-Barletta and Ricardo Martinelli; from Paraguay, Juan Carlos Wasmosy; from Peru, Alejandro Toledo; and from Uruguay, Luis Alberto Lacalle.
All of them belong to the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas, a non-governmental international forum composed of academics, editors and former senior State officials, which has been created specifically for the promotion, upholding and support of democracy as a right of peoples which must be ensured by governments.