José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero gives a press conference after meeting with representatives of the Government of Venezuela and three Latin American foreign ministers on January 18 in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic
The former president of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, will travel to Venezuela on Thursday as part of an observation mission for the presidential elections on Sunday, former president of the French Senate Jean-Pierre Bel, who travels with him, told AFP.
“We will organize an observation system” of these elections, in which President Nicolás Maduro is emerging as the big favorite, Bel said in a statement.
“The situation in Venezuela, which is extremely serious, requires a great sense of responsibility,” Bel said, adding that he will act in an “independent” manner.
He added that he will participate in this mission “in a lucid way, after having made contact with different protagonists and having obtained indispensable guarantees, among them the adhesion to this mission of the main candidate of the opposition, Henri Falcón, with whom we will see ourselves, as with the others, Saturday. ”
European ex-commissioner Markos Kyprianou will also participate in the mission, according to Bel.
Zapatero mediated in the negotiations in the Dominican Republic between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, which failed because the parties did not reach a guarantee agreement for the presidential elections.
In Venezuela, “the people are suffering a serious economic crisis and a political tension that could be transformed at any moment into a bloody confrontation, which is why we must try everything to avoid the worst,” the Frenchman added.
Some 20.5 million Venezuelans are called to elect the head of state in a single round.
The United States, the European Union (EU) and several countries in Latin America have warned that they will not recognize the results of these elections, considered illegitimate by the opposition.