The government of Peru is set to ask that the Lima Group formally break off all diplomatic relations with Venezuela, a move it claims is the “natural consequence” of Maduro victory in the May 20 presidential election this year.
Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nestor Popolizio, said that he would propose the move at a meeting of the Lima Group scheduled to take place in January. Popolizio said:
This is a proposal that we’re going to make to the group, and we’ll see which countries agree with doing that.
Popolizio also stressed that the Lima Group does not recognize Maduro as the legitimate head of Venezuela. As a result, he explained, he would also propose that the Lima Group deal only with the National Assembly, Venezuela’s legislature, when it comes to economic matters. He explained:
Since the only representative authority that we have recognized is the National Assembly, which was elected democratically by Venezuelans, we are going to propose that any financial measures be coordinate with [the National Assembly].
The Lima Group is comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and St. Lucia. It was formed in August of last year as a multilateral attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the Venezuela crisis.
Popolizio also said that Peru is not sure that any of the other Lima Group countries will agree with its proposals, but that it would nevertheless bring them up at the meeting. He explained that Peru is looking for “an important reaction” from the international community on the Venezuelan crisis, one that he hopes will “establish a mechanism for transition in Venezuela and an end to the Maduro regime”.
Regime Reacts to Peru’s Statement
The Maduro regime reacted today to the statements by Peruvian Foreign Affairs Minister Nestor Popolizio regarding the upcoming January meeting of the Lima Group.
Through his Twitter account, Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza replied by leveling a vague, blanket attack against the entire organization:
The Lima Cartel (group): some governments linked to drug trafficking/paramilitaries, some so corrupt that their ex-presidents are in jail, many presidents under investigation today; some violate the rights of indigenous peoples and human rights; others devoted to neoliberalism
While Arreaza did not specify which country(ies) he had in mind with each qualifier, it is worth pointing out that the Maduro regime exhibits the characteristics that Arreaza describes.
Top regime officials have long been accused of operating an international drug trafficking organization out of the Venezuelan government. The Maduro regime has been universally condemned by human rights organizations for its reliance on paramilitary groups called coletivos armados to brutally repress anti-government protests. While no former Venezuelan president is currently in prison, Maduro has been accused in Brazilian court of receiving millions of dollars in bribes as part of the Odebrecht corruption case. Moreover, the regime’s human rights violations have been extensively documented. While Venezuela may not be “devoted” to neoliberalism, the economic model that Chavez implemented and Maduro perpetuated has caused one of the worst economic disasters in modern history.
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