Exiting the European Union (Sanctions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:38 pm on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 2:38 pm, 9th April 2019

The right hon. Gentleman makes a fair point. One of the general problems has been that we were so pleased to see some reform in the country that we were not tough enough and sharp enough about what was going on.

On Venezuela, too, we agree that it is right to roll over the EU sanctions. The record of the Maduro Government since the collapse of the oil price has been one of significant and serious human rights abuses. As the Minister said, the fact that 3.6 million people have left the country and that we have starvation and medicine shortages is extremely serious. It is shocking to see that food aid has been blocked at the Colombian border. The first speech that I made when I was given this portfolio was in September 2017, and I condemned then the closing down of the legitimate National Assembly and the setting up of the fake constitutional Assembly. The elections in May 2018 were not free or fair. Political opponents have been jailed. There are reports that people who are in prison are being tortured. The National Assembly leader, Juan Guaidó, has been stripped of political immunity. We believe that 40 people have been killed in protests since the beginning of this year. All of that is unacceptable and reasonable justification for the continuation of sanctions.