Former presidents continue to speak out

Honorable President Nicolás Maduro Moros


Foreign Minister, Delcy Eloina Rodríguez Gómez

We write to express our concern over the recent arrest of Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma and investigation of 33 mayors in your country.   Last week marked a year since the arrest of former mayor Leopoldo López Mendoza.  Mr. López has been held in a Venezuelan prison without trial since last year when he was arrested by the government on the charges of inciting violence in a series of peaceful democratic protests.  Amnesty International and the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights have all expressed their concern over his case.

For many of us that struggled against repressive regimes in the 1970s and 1980s, the international network of NGOs and multilateral institutions served as a lifeline for us and our families, defending international human rights and ensuring due process.  We view the disregard and opposition to their efforts with concern and strongly urge you in the case of Mr. López and the mayors to address their concerns, within a free, fair and independent system of justice.

We acknowledge the political polarization and economic difficulties Venezuela faces today, though we fear that should the country continue on this course of confrontation the proud Venezuelan nation and member of our hemisphere will continue to deteriorate.  As former heads of state from across the region, we extend our sincere hope that Venezuela’s elected government and people can peacefully resolve these differences, while meeting longstanding norms and commitments to human rights and due process.  For decades, Venezuela and the Venezuelan people have stood by us in our times of political difficulties.  In these times, we stand with Venezuela and for principles of democracy with the hope that dialogue rather than aggression can resolve the current situation.

With solidarity and respect,


Former President of Costa Rica, Óscar Arias Sánchez (1986-1990 and 2006-2010)

Former President of Mexico, Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa (2006-2012)

Former President of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2003)

Former President of Peru, Alejandro Celestino Toledo Manrique (2001-2006)

Former President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León (1994-2000)