The Lima Group, which includes several Latin American countries and Canada, will meet next week in Bogota to emphasize its support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognized by some 50 nations as interim president of Venezuela, Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Wednesday.
“We will be the hosts of the Lima Group next week in Bogotá, and all the countries of this hemisphere will give the strongest support needed to lead the transition in Venezuela,” he said.
Duque made the announcement during a meeting in Washington with United States President Donald Trump, with whom he reviewed the situation in Venezuela, which escalated three weeks ago as Guaidó and President Nicolás Maduro both claimed leadership.
The United States and Colombia are pushing for the exit of Maduro, whose mandate they consider “illegitimate” and for which they blame for the economic debacle that the once-powerful oil power is experiencing. Venezuela is enduring a shortage of medicine and food due to hyperinflation. Some 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015, according to the UN.
Guaidó, head of the Parliament, proclaimed himself interim president on Jan. 23 and vowed to organize new elections, arguing Maduro had been re-elected via fraudulent elections.
The Lima Group, created in 2017 to help resolve the Venezuelan crisis, met for the last time on Feb. 4 in Ottawa.
On that date, 11 of the 14 members of the Lima Group called for a peaceful change of government in Venezuela and called on the military to recognize Guaidó and allow “the entry and transit” of humanitarian aid.
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru attended the meeting.
The only one of the founding members of the Lima Group that did not participate was Mexico, one of the most active members of the Lima Group until Andrés Manuel López Obrador assumed the presidency on Dec. 1, 2018.
The other two members of the Lima Group that did not recognize Guaidó and were not in Ottawa are Guyana and Santa Lucia.