OTTAWA, Feb 5, 2019, TASS. Eleven out of 14 countries of the Lima Group have called on the Venezuelan military to show loyalty to interim president Juan Guaido, the organization said in a statement published by Canada’s Global Affairs, reported the TASS News Agency.
The members of the Lima Group – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru – “reiterate their recognition and support for Juan Guaido as the Interim President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as per its Constitution.”
The countries “call upon the National Armed Forces of Venezuela to demonstrate their loyalty to the Interim President in his constitutional functions as their Commander in Chief. Similarly, they urge the National Armed Forces not to impede the entry and transit of humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans,” the document said.
Other members of the group – Mexico, Guyana and Saint Lucia – did not back the call.
Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas on January 23.
Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president. Subsequently, Venezuela’s incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said he was cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.
Defying European pressure, Maduro shrugged off an ultimatum by EU states demanding early elections. France, Spain, Sweden and the UK announced Monday that they were recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president after an eight-day deadline for Maduro to call elections had not been met. Furthermore, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated that Guaido had the ability and the legitimacy to organize new presidential elections.
In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
On January 29, Washington slapped sanctions on the Venezuelan oil producer PDVSA and later transferred control of some of Venezuela’s assets in US banks to Guaido.