Latin American organizations rebuke Venezuela’s Maduro as illegitimate

World Today

Foreign Ministers of the Lima Group gather for a meeting concerning Venezuela, in Lima, Peru, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. The group gathers in Lima to define a strategy for resolving Venezuela’s growing crisis ahead of President Nicolas Maduro’s Jan. 10 inauguration to a second term, which is widely dismissed as illegitimate. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Venezuela has rejected a regional rebuke. Foreign Ministers from a dozen Latin American nations and Canada announced they won’t recognize President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election, and the Secretary General of the Organization of American States has urged the international community to follow suit. CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports.

The diplomats gathered in Lima urged President Nicolas Maduro to not take office when he is due to be sworn in for a second six-year term on January 10.

Thirteen of the 14 members of the Lima Group – which includes Canada – called on Maduro to temporarily hand over power to the opposition-controlled National Assembly until new elections are held.

They stressed they would not recognize the legitimacy of the elections held in Venezuela last May in which, they claim, opposition candidates were excluded.

In a joint statement read by Peru’s foreign minister, Nestor Popolizio, the group also urged Maduro immediately to allow in humanitarian assistance into the country.

“It is necessary to mention the serious humanitarian situation in Venezuela, migration and the refugee crisis that the dictatorship of the Maduro regime has caused, and all of the actions that have generated a deep political, economic and social crisis in that country,” he said.

The oil-rich nation is in an economic meltdown with sky-rocketing inflation and scarce food and medicine.

The UN estimates three million Venezuelans have migrated from the country since 2015 – the largest refugee crisis the continent has ever seen, it says.

The Lima Group, which includes most Latin American nations, was created in 2017 after 125 people died in anti-Maduro protests. The group aims for a solution to Venezuela’s crisis which is impacting the whole region.

It’s not yet clear if the move will lead to sanctions and how those would impact Venezuela’s spiraling social and economic crisis.

But Maduro is unlikely to take any notice of this latest announcement.

In the past, he has accused the Lima Group of belonging to a U.S.-led conspiracy to remove him from power and seize Venezuela’s oil resources.