Nov 11, 2017
The United States welcomes the Lima Group's leadership in addressing the deteriorating situation in Venezuela.
The Lima Group was formed in August 2017 with the goal of bringing coordinated international pressure on Venezuela. The group includes Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.
In a recent meeting in Toronto, the Lima Group declared support for the provision of humanitarian assistance for the Venezuelan people and condemned electoral abuses. The group called for electoral reforms, including a new National Electoral Council, the release of political prisoners, and support for the democratically-elected National Assembly.
These positions, said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, reflect "the same principles and concerns underpinning the unwavering position of the United States. We welcome all efforts in support of the Venezuelan people as they struggle to secure a more democratic, peaceful, and prosperous future."
"We urge others in the international community to join the Lima Group and the United States in opposing the Maduro regime's authoritarian actions, which are responsible for the worsening political, economic, and social crises facing the country and the Venezuelan people," said Ms. Nauert.
Maduro's government crackdown on the opposition has taken a toll. Public protests this year have led to more than 125 deaths, thousands of arrests and injuries, and widespread damage to property.
The Lima Group noted that the regime is intent on dividing the opposition, and called on groups to work together.
“It's a very important point," said Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. "The people of Venezuela, in their struggle to reestablish democracy in their country ... deserve an opposition which is united and can represent them effectively.”
"As long as the Maduro regime conducts itself as a dictatorship," said Ms. Nauert, "we will continue to bring the full weight of American economic and diplomatic power to bear in support of the Venezuelan people as they seek to restore their democracy."