The Lima Group (Grupo de Lima in Spanish) of countries seeking an end to the Venezuelan crisis said in a declaration on Friday they do not recognize President Nicolas Maduro’s new term starting next week.
The Lima Group has called on Maduro “not to assume presidency on January 10… and to temporarily transfer the executive power to the National Assembly until a new, democratic presidential poll is held.”
The Lima Group have said they will not recognize his new term because last year’s election was “illegitimate.”
The paper, published by Peru’s government, was also signed by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, and Saint Lucia. Mexico abstained.
The nations reiterated their full support of the Venezuelan legislature, elected in 2015, and rejected as illegal last May’s vote that saw Maduro re-elected for a second six-year term.
Reacting to media reports that US State Secretary Mike Pompeo took part in the meeting via teleconference, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza slammed the 14-member group for taking orders from US President Donald Trump.
The Grupo de Lima
The Lima Group was established following the Lima Declaration on 8 August 2017 in the Peruvian capital of Lima, where representatives of 12 countries met in order to establish a peaceful exit to the crisis in Venezuela.
welve countries initially signed the declaration: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru. Guyana and Saint Lucia joined later.
What did the Lima Group decide?
The declaration states that the following measures have been agreed by the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia:
- Reevaluate the status or level of diplomatic relations with Venezuela.
- Prevent Venezuelan officials from entering the territory of the countries of the Lima Group.
- Suspend military cooperation with the Maduro regime.
- Urges other nations to support an International Criminal Court investigation into the commission of possible crimes against humanity in Venezuela.
- Calls on the international community to adopt similar measures.
‘Void of legitimacy and credibility’
At least 16 Latin American nations, as well as the United States, warned Venezuela ahead of the May 2018 election that it would be seen as illegitimate by the region unless it restored democratic standards before the poll.
A joint declaration put out at the Summit of the Americas in Peru in April said the election would be “void of legitimacy and credibility” if it went ahead under the then-current conditions.