Statement by Minister Dion on Venezuela


July 7, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“It is unfortunate that the appeal hearing for jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, scheduled for today, has once again been postponed. It bears recalling that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had determined his imprisonment was arbitrary and called for his release ‘forthwith’, and for ‘full redress’. The working group’s chair-rapporteur, Seong-Phil Hong, said that the sentence was issued after a 19-month-long trial conducted behind closed doors and marked by serious irregularities, where due process and a fair trial were not respected, the basis of the allegations was not published, the accused was not allowed to exercise his right to an adequate defence, and the supporting evidence he offered was not accepted.

“Indeed, Luis Almagro, Secretary-General of the Organization of American States [OAS], along with heads of state and foreign ministers from Latin America, Europe and the United States, has called for his release.

“Canada believes that denying freedom of political participation not only contradicts Venezuela’s international obligations, but also prevents resolution of the serious crisis facing the country. In the OAS on June 23, Canada and a majority of Venezuela’s partners in the hemisphere called for dialogue between Venezuela’s government and the opposition. The single most tangible action President Nicolás Maduro can take to demonstrate his commitment to dialogue is to release his political opponents, including not only Leopoldo López but also Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos and others.”


Chantal Gagnon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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