April 21, 2019
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Lima Group meets in search of peaceful, democratic solution in Venezuela

Santiago de Chile, Apr 15 (efe-epa).- The foreign ministers of Lima Group member states gathered in the Chilean capital Monday with the intention of drawing up concrete measures to bring a democratic and non-violent end to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela which, according to Chile's top diplomat Roberto Ampuero, has worsened.

Ampuero, who was hosting what was the 12th such meeting of foreign ministers, said that not only had the humanitarian crisis been exacerbated but so had the migrant crisis stemming from the struggling, oil-rich nation.

"The humanitarian situation in this country has worsened due to the lack of food and medicine. Another element that is worsening is the migrant crisis, which is having a huge impact on Venezuela's neighbors," Ampuero said.

The Chilean foreign minister denounced what he said was increased harassment directed towards the head of Venezuela's parliament Juan Guaidó, who rose to international prominence in January when he declared himself interim president in what was a direct challenge to the embattled incumbent, Nicolás Maduro.

Guaído was sworn in just as Maduro began his second term despite not being recognized by many international governments due to doubts surrounding his re-election victory.

Maduro's government does not recognize the legitimacy of the National Assembly, where Guaidó is the majority leader, although the majority of the international community does.

Ampuero said this kind of harassment was now also affecting Guaidó's advisors.

Over 50 nations, including the United States, a dozen Latin American countries and most of the European Union, has recognized Guaidó as Venezuela's legitimate interim president. Several others, namely Russia, Cuba, and Bolivia, have defended Maduro.

Asked whether military intervention in Venezuela was on the table, Ampuero said: "the policy of the Lima Group is very clear in that it seeks a democratic, non-violent political solution to the tragedy with is befalling the Venezuelan people."

He said that, since the Lima Group was founded in 2017 with the intention of finding a peaceful and democratic transition in Venezuela, the crisis had taken center stage as a major international diplomatic issue.

"We will continue to establish links and seek cooperation with other actors in international politics who are interested in restoring democracy to Venezuela," the Chilean foreign minister said.

Monday's Lima Group meeting will include the foreign ministers of Argentina, Jorge Faurie; Brazil, Ernesto Araújo; Canada, Christya Freeland; Colombia, Carlos Holmes Trujillo; Costa Rica, Manuel Ventura and Peru, Néstor Popolizio.

Honduras and Panama will be represented by their deputy foreign ministers and Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Paraguay and Saint Lucia by ambassadors and other authorities.

Julio Borges, Guaidó's representative to the Lima Group, will also be present. EFE-EPA

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