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Jakarta Post

Indonesia calls for restraint in Venezuela

  • Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, January 26, 2019   /   03:14 pm
Indonesia calls for restraint in Venezuela Opposition activists clash with the police at the Francisco de Miranda air force base during a demonstration against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on June 24, 2017, near the place where a young man was shot dead by police during an antigovernment rally two days ago. A political and economic crisis in the oil-producing country has spawned often violent demonstrations by protesters demanding Maduro's resignation and new elections. (AFP/Juan Barreto )

Indonesia has called for restraint in Venezuela, which is now mired in political crisis after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president in an effort to unseat socialist President Nicolás Maduro.

“We call on all parties to hold back and not take actions that could make the situation worse,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanantha Nasir said in a statement on Saturday.

The two rival presidential claimants in Venezuela have garnered their own support bases among the international community, with Guaido backed by the United States, followed by neighboring Latin American countries including Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. Russia and China, meanwhile, support Maduro.

“While respecting [Venezuela's] sovereignty and with no intention of interfering in Venezuelan internal affairs, [we believe that] it is important that the voices of the Venezuelan people be heard. Therefore, a political process that is democratic, transparent and credible is urgently needed,” Arrmanantha said.

On Wednesday, tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets to demand Maduro step down after the country has experienced years of skyrocketing hyperinflation, power cuts and shortages of food and medicine.

The United Nations human rights boss Michelle Bachelet called on Friday for an independent investigation into alleged excessive use of force by Venezuelan security forces or allied militias, citing reports of at least 20 people killed this week, according to Reuters.

More than 350 people have reportedly been detained in protests, she said.

Indonesian Ambassador to Venezuela, M Luthfi Wittoeng said after Wednesday’s demonstration, the situation in Caracas had returned to normal.

“The demonstration and riots did not affect the activities at the Indonesian Embassy, there were only a few roads closed because of mass concentrations, but we were still able to come to the office and work as usual,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

He said the embassy would continue to monitor the situation and advised Indonesian citizens to avoid places where demonstrations are taking place and not to get involved in Venezuelan domestic political activities.

“There are not many Indonesians living in Venezuela, only around 40 people. there are 16 crew members who work in fishing companies in the area of Port La Cruz, located about five hours from Caracas,” he said.

While US diplomats have until Sunday to leave the country after Maduro cut off diplomatic relations with the US for supporting Guaido, Luthfi said there was no reason for Indonesia to follow suit.

“For now, we are not seeing any alarming signs at the Indonesian Embassy, especially of evacuation, but we are still monitoring the progress of the situation. The Indonesian Embassy has procedures to anticipate any emergency,” he said.