The 14 countries that make up the group, with the exception of Mexico, will toughen sanctions against Venezuela.
Mexico opted not to join its regional peers, who urged Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro not to assume a new mandate this month, the first time it declines to sign a declaration by the Lima Group, which was created to pressure Caracas to carry out democratic reforms. After a meeting of foreign ministers held in Lima, the remaining 13 members of the Lima Group, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru, said they would not recognize Maduro’s new term because last year’s election was “illegitimate”, according to the joint statement.
These countries described as “illegitimate” the new mandate of Maduro, which will begin on January 10, and urged him “not to assume the presidency, to respect the powers of the National Assembly and transfer him, provisionally, the power executive until new democratic presidential elections “are conducted.
However, Mexico, which was once one of the most outspoken critics of Maduro said he prefers keeping open diplomatic channels with Caracas to help find a solution to the political crisis in that country, according to a government source in Peru who asked not be identified.
The ties between Mexico and Venezuela narrowed after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took power, who faced criticism for inviting Maduro to take office on December 1.
Despite this, Mexico will continue to be part of the Lima Group, added the source and a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The remaining members of the Lima Group also agreed to reevaluate their diplomatic relations with Venezuela and prevent high-ranking Venezuelan officials from entering their territories as permitted by national laws, the statement said.
The group consists of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico , Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Twitter that the Lima Group is receiving orders from the president of the United States, Donald Trump.
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