Regional leaders met today in Lima, Peru for the Eighth Summit of the Americas (SOA). During today’s meeting, the leaders discussed a number of issues, among them the Venezuelan crisis and its impact on the hemisphere.
Argentinian president Mauricio Macri reiterated an early call that his government would not recognize the result of the May 20 presidential election, which regime critics claim is rigged in favour of Maduro. During his turn at the podium, Macri said that the international community had to “redouble our efforts” to convince the Maduro regime to allow humanitarian aid to flow into the country.
Chilean president Sebastián Piñera also used his time at the podium to address the Venezuelan crisis, saying that the matter affected “everyone committed to democracy”. Piñera also said:
There is no democracy in Venezuela, and there is no respect for human rights. We want [the Maduro regime] to understand that the humanitarian crisis is condemning many of its citizens to death.
Piñera also went on the record saying that Chile would not recognize the results of the May 20 presidential election due to the fact that, as he put it, they “are not democratic [or] transparent”.
Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela also spoke on the Venezuelan crisis, as he called on Latin American countries to work together to help find a peaceful solution to the matter. Varela spoke on what he believes to be an increase in the number of Venezuelans leaving the country following the “imposition” of the May 20 presidential election, which he also believes are rigged.
The economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is a problem for the entire region. It could result in a massive exodus following these elections, which are not democratic.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also in attendance at the summit, and he expressed similar views on Venezuela to those of the other leaders. Trudeau called the ongoing systemic human rights violations in Venezuela “completely unacceptable”, and called on the Organization of American States (OAS) to work towards restoring democratic order in Venezuela.
President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico said during his time at the podium that his government supported Peru’s decision to not invite Maduro to the SOA, and said that Mexico stood behind “the principles of the Lima Declaration”, which is a joint statement released in August of last year by a number of regional countries calling for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.
President Juan Manuel Santos pointed out that outside of Venezuela, Colombia is the country that is most acutely feeling the “desperation” that Venezuelans suffer, and called for a prompt return to democracy in the country. Santos said:
We have been and will continue to be generous to the Venezuelan people, but we will be relentless against the oppressive regime.
Santos also said that Colombia would not recognize the results of the May 20 election, and urged Maduro to accept international aid. Santos pointed out that “the world watches with tearful eyes” as it continues to hear stories of how people “are dying of hunger” in Venezuela.
At the podium, Brazil’s president Michel Temer also called for a democratic and peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela, and that he hoped that the next SOA could take place in “a more united, prosperous and democratic” region.
Ecuador was represented at the summit by vice president María Vicuña, who said during her speech that approximately 4,000 Venezuelans are arriving in the country each day, yet another sign of the intensity of the migratory wave out of Venezuela.
We feel for our brotherly Republic of Venezuela. Their dead and injured are not strangers to us. We see Venezuelans and their entire families leaving their country, just as happened in ours a decade ago when it lived through the migratory phenomenon. Each day, 4,000 Venezuelans arrive in Ecuador.
Under the government of president Rafael Correa, Ecuador was one of the few reliable allies that the Maduro regime had. However, Ecuador has distanced itself from the regime ever since Correa left office in May of last year.
Vicuña also said:
We call on the Venezuelan government to find democratic solutions. It is up to Venezuelans to define their definitive [political] model, as it should be in democratic and free [countries].
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