Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs and Trade Spokesperson Darragh O’Brien TD has expressed concern about the worsening political situation in Venezuela.

In the latest developments in the South American country, Venezuelan security officials seized two opposition leaders and high profile critics of Maduro in overnight raids after they urged protests against the recently elected Constituent Assembly.

“Following months of escalating unrest, more than 100 lives have been lost during one individual’s authoritarian pursuit for sweeping power,” explained Deputy O’Brien.

“The strong man tactics of Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded the late Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez, have proven to be nothing more than blatant assaults on democratic freedoms in a bid for one-party rule, and have crippled an entire people.

“18 years after the coming to power of Chavez and his Fifth Republic Movement, the people of Venezuela have been left teetering on the precipice.  Venezuela has been led towards collapse and the country is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and possible civil war. A humanitarian crisis comes on the heels of economic turmoil and I believe the international community has a responsibility to speak up for the Venezuelan people and to urgently respond to its plight.

He added, “The deteriorating political situation in Venezuela also raises questions for Sinn Féin and their support for what can now only be described as an anti-democratic and increasingly authoritarian regime.

“Sinn Féin’s continued support of Maduro and their failure to condemn his actions demonstrates that they are selective in their support of basic democratic principles.

“In my opinion, no party which believes in democracy and the rule of law can stand over what is currently happening in Venezuela and Sinn Féin needs to state clearly where they stand on this rapidly deteriorating situation”, concluded O’Brien.