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Buenos Aires
25-26 June 1999

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25-26 June 1999


Original: Spanish

The Council of the Socialist International meeting in Buenos Aires on 25-26 June 1999,

concerned by the direction taken by the political process in Venezuela, marked as it is by a climate of instability and uncertainty as a consequence of the government's policy of permanent confrontation with the established authorities;

regrets the bypassing of political parties as a fundamental democratic institution and condemns the constant and unjustified attacks against those parties and their leaders as these damage the possibility of dialogue and agreement which are fundamental tools for democratic participation;

conscious that the National Constitutional Assembly may become a vehicle to promote, revitalise and renew democratic institutions and practices, nevertheless expresses its great concern at the constant indications by the Venezuelan government that it to turn the Asssembly into a body with the capacity of concentrating power and setting aside the decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice;

alarmed by the widespread military interference in various institutions and in the decision-making and execution of state policies as well as the Bolívar 2000 programme of civic-military collaboration and the decision to incorporate obligatory pre-military training in the educational curriculum of the nation,

calls on the government of Venezuela to respect human rights and the free play of politics, tolerance and respect for political dissent and freedom of opinion and expression.