The Lima Group issued a formal statement this afternoon calling on Maduro to abandon the presidency, transfer power to the National Assembly, and call for new presidential elections in the country. The statement comes just six days before Maduro is sworn-in to a second, six-year presidential term.
The statement, which is available here in Spanish, was signed by representatives from the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and St. Lucia. Notably absent was the signature from Mexico, whose new president–Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador–has been vocal about his desire to “not intervene” in Venezuela.
In its statement, the Lima Group stresses that they May 20 presidential election that saw Maduro victorious “lacks legitimacy” in part because the regime banned some opposition parties and politicians from running, and because it did not count on “the guarantees and international standards necessary for a free, just and transparent process”.
Nestor Popolizio, the Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, summarized the statement at a press conference in the following way:
The main message is the non-recognition, the illegitimacy of the mandate that Maduro is trying to assume on January 10.
The statement also unequivocally denounces “any provocation or military deployment that may threatens peace and security in the region”,
In response to the ongoing crisis, the Lima Group has also agreed to prevent regime officials from entering their respective jurisdictions “as [our] internal legislatures may allow”, “suspend military cooperation” with Venezuela including arms sales, and “evaluate” the granting of future loans to Venezuela.
The statement comes following a meeting of the Group today in Lima, Peru. On the importance of the meeting, Colombian president Ivan Duque said:
We must recognize the Venezuelan National Assembly as one of the institutions that is vital to restore constitutional order in Venezuela, since this Assembly has been abused and practically annulled by the dictatorship.
The National Assembly was elected in 2015, and is currently controlled by the opposition. Since its election, the Maduro regime has worked tirelessly to annul virtually every piece of legislation passed by the Assembly, and went as far as stripping it of all of its powers through a pair of decisions by the Supreme Court in March 2017. While the decisions were rescinded just a few days later grew to near universal condemnation, they helped spark the 2017 anti-government protest wave.
Venezuelan Couple Injured in Chilean Terrorist Blast
A Venezuelan couple was injured in a blast today at a bus stop on a busy avenue in Santiago, Chile.
Karla Rubilar, the head government official for the city of Santiago, said shortly after the blast that five people had been injured, and that all of the injuries were relatively minor except for those sustained by a female victim. El Universal, citing “local media”, claims that the most seriously injured woman is Venezuelan.
Rubilar also said that the explosion occurred at around noon, and that one of the victims had manipulated the device before it detonated.
A terrorist group called the Individuales con Tendencia a lo Salvaje [Individuals with a Tendency to be Savage, ITS) claimed responsibility for the blast. The group appears to be a lose collection of environmental extremists, and has been responsible for other attacks in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, as well as other countries.
Below, some images from the scene:
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