The European Parliament, R2P and the Venezuelan crisis

Miami University EU Center Jean Monnet Chair, Vol. 20, No. 8Paper Series, December 2020

Venezuela´s drift to authoritarianism has gained pace over the past few years, especially since
the controversial 2018 re-election of Nicolás Maduro to the Presidency, followed by the Juan
Guaidó self-proclamation as “interim President” in January 2019. The European Union/EU has
followed closely developments in that country in particular since Hugo Chávez gained power
two decades ago. In 2017, the EU started imposing a series of sanctions against the Maduro
regime. And in January 2019, the European Parliament/EP overwhelmingly supported Guaidó, as
did most EU states, although some were reluctant to do so. This paper considers the EU reaction
to the Venezuela crisis through two original and rather neglected perspectives: first, what role for
Responsibility to Protect/R2P? This is a growing international concept, yet strongly opposed by
several Latin American states, especially Venezuela. And, second, what role for the EP? Indeed,
as a strong R2P supporter, the EP is pushing for a strong common EU policy in favour of a
democratic solution to the Venezuelan crisis.