The Lima Group, with the exception of Mexico, announced Friday in the Peruvian capital that it will not recognize the Venezuelan government if President Nicolás Maduro assumes a new term on Jan. 10, on the basis of it being the product of illegitimate elections.
“This statement has a forceful political message: The main message is without a doubt the non-recognition of the legitimacy of the new period of the Venezuelan regime,” said Peruvian chancellor Néstor Popolizio, reading the most important aspects of the statement of the group, which met with the unpublished participation of the United States to define actions against the government of Maduro.
The group called on the Venezuelan ruler to step down and not assume a new term (2019-2025), considering that his re-election was illegitimate.
The Lima group asked Maduro to temporarily transfer power to the National Assembly until free elections are held.
“Nicolás Maduro is urged not to assume the presidency, to respect the powers of the Assembly and to temporarily transfer power until new elections are made,” said the chancellor.
The Peruvian chancellor emphasized that the Lima Group had declared the electoral process that brought Maduro back to power illegitimate. On the contrary, the Group reiterated its support for the National Assembly, which it recognizes as “a constitutionally elected body” in Venezuela.
Its members also agreed, the Peruvian Chancellor said, to allow the 14 countries the freedom to adopt concrete measures to assess the level of their relations with Venezuela or prevent entry to officials of the regime.
Peru had proposed that the countries of the group break relations with Venezuela a month ago.
“It is very important that the Lima group has issued this pronouncement to continue to exert pressure with a view to the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” concluded the minister, who was the only one of the chancellors who took the floor at the close of the meeting.
The Lima Group, created in 2017 — a year of protests against Maduro that left about 125 dead in Venezuela — is composed of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Saint Lucia.
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