Portugal: Venezuela crisis hurting Portuguese citizens ‘tremendously’ – official

Page created: Wednesday, 31 May 2017 14:59 GMT


Caracas, May 31 (Lusa) – The ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela is affecting the country’s large Portuguese community “tremendously”, according to Sérgio Marques, the regional secretary of parliamentary and European affairs for Madeira, from where most of the Portuguese immigrants in that country come.

“What I feel, from the conversations that I’ve had, is that the situation has worsened a lot in the months since my previous visit” in July 2016, Marques told Lusa during a four-day visit to Venezuela that started on Tuesday, and on which he is accompanying the secretary of state for Portuguese communities abroad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, José Luís Carneiro.

“I think the situation is worsening sharply and is ever more worrying, not least because we can’t see a way out of this very deep political, social and economic crisis in which Venezuela is mired and which obviously affects our community tremendously,” Marques said.

He explained that his trip to the country was not to find solutions for the crisis but “on the contrary to express a clear sign of solidarity with our community” in the difficult times it is facing.

“We won’t abandon them,” he said. “They’re Madeirans, independent of the place where they might be living, ad so it is also that message that I want to send out with my coming here,” he concluded.

During the visit, the regional secretary is to meet Portuguese emigrants, business representatives and local authorities in Caracas, Turumo, Maracay and Valencia.

Earlier, Portugal’s secretary of state had also told Portuguese public radio that concerns about the situation of Portuguese citizens in Venezuela would be the focus of his visit.

“I already intended to visit Venezuela, but of course when social, economic and political living conditions deteriorated, the urgency of this meeting, of this presence, took on greater importance, because the presence of the government is always a demonstration that the Portuguese of Venezuela are not forgotten,” Carneiro said. “They are at the centre of our concerns and of those of all the structures of the Portuguese state.”