World Media

Corbyn refuses to condemn President Maduro

Corbyn refuses to condemn President Maduro

Mr Corbyn today insisted that it was essential to recognise the "effective and serious attempts" to reduce poverty, improve literacy and the lives of the poorest in Venezuela despite the current crisis.

Asked if he condemned the actions of the government in cracking down on protests, he said: "What I condemn is the violence that has been done by any side, by all sides, in this".

Corbyn was a longtime admirer of Venezuela under its late socialist leader Hugo Chávez, saying in 2013 he was "an inspiration to all of us fighting back against austerity and neoliberal economics in Europe".

Angela Smith, a Labour member of the new all-party parliamentary group on Venezuela with Mr Spellar, said: 'It is right that Jeremy should condemn violence on all sides but he needs to go further.

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Earlier in the day, Corbyn condemned violence in Venezuela, expressed regret over lives lost on both government and opposition's sides and called for a dialogue.

"The Tories sent out ministers to attack Corbyn on broadcast media, with global development secretary, Priti Patel, accusing him of "failing to condemn" the brutal regime championed by his socialist ally and friend president Maduro", but John Prescott, the Labour former deputy prime minister, countered by telling the BBC that the party leader did not "run away" from views he had previously expressed about Venezuela but "reassessed" when the circumstances changed.

Mr Maduro has been accused of behaving like the "dictator of an evil regime" by the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Until yesterday Mr Corbyn, who has been on holiday in Croatia, had stayed silent on the issue as Venezuelan forces cracked down on protests after changes to the constitution gave Mr Maduro's ruling socialist...

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Now he is Labour's leader, taking on Theresa May's minority government, and under increasing pressure to distance himself from the people and policies that have led Venezuela into a political and economic crisis. "The people who have died, either those on the streets or security forces that have been attacked by people on the street - all of those lives are awful for the loss of them", he told the BBC. He also shared a platform with Mr Maduro in 2006.

"I'm very sad at the lives that have been lost in Venezuela. Violence is not going to solve the issues".

"The UK has repeatedly called on the Maduro government to work with the opposition, release political prisoners and show respect for democracy and human rights". "We're clear that urgent action must be taken to stop the situation getting worse", the prime minister's spokesman said.

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