Coalition of nations meets for political solution for Venezuela

World Today

Coalition of nations meets for political solution for Venezuela(1st row – L to R) Colombia’s Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Colombia’s Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez, Colombian President Ivan Duque and Peru’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Hugo de Zela, attend a meeting with Foreign Ministers of the Lima Group, US Vice President Mike Pence, Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared acting president Juan Guaido and other Latin American leaders at Colombia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry in Bogota, on February 25, 2019. (Photo by Diana Sanchez / AFP)

A coalition of mostly Latin American nations has met in Colombia, seeking a political solution for Venezuela.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence attended, along with Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The display of solidarity against President Nicolas Maduro follows violent confrontation over Western aid.

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports from Bogota.

Over the weekend, the United States and the Venezuelan opposition had hinted at the possibility of a military intervention into Venezuela.

But as the Lima Group opened its meeting on Monday, it was clear the majority of countries did not have the appetite for such a course of action. Colombia, Peru, Mexico and others made clear they did not want to see war. They all appealed for a negotiated, peaceful settlement to Venezuela’s crisis.

“The use of force in what form is unacceptable. The use of force is not the solution for what is occuring in Venezuela,” Peru Deputy Foreign Minister Hugo de Zela Martinez said.

The group was united in its condemnation of the government of Venezuela and blamed President Nicolas Maduro for the violence on Saturday as aid trucks were prevented from entering Venezuela and crowds battled with the police.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Bogota, Colombia for the meeting and insisted all options are on the table to remove Maduro.

“We are with you 100 percent. We stand with you in America along with all the nations gathered here today and we will keep standing with you until democracy and libertad are restored,” Pence said.

The U.S. announced sanctions against a number of border-state governors who are aligned with President Maduro and involved in blocking humanitarian aid from reaching Venezuelans.

Self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, also appeared at the Lima Group meeting. The Venezuelan opposition has been pushing in private and public for military intervention in Venezuela, but has so far been unsuccessful.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman issued a rebuke on Monday to countries opposed to President Maduro and urged parties to seek a solution through dialogue. Adding, China opposes any intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs by outside external forces.

There are around 50 governments who now recognize Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela and are unified in calling for Maduro to step down. But the demand for military intervention in to Venezuela, they agree, is a step too far.

Fernando Cutz discusses the political crisis in Venezuela

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with Fernando Cutz, former director for South America Affairs at The White House National Security Council, about the situation in Venezuela and it’s impact on Latin America.