Statement of the third meeting of the Lima Group on the situation in Venezuela
The foreign ministers and representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru gathered in Toronto on October 26, 2017, to continue their evaluation of the situation in Venezuela:
1. reiterate their rejection of the obstacles and the acts of intimidation, manipulation, social coercion and influencing of the vote, among other irregularities, that characterized the regional elections held in Venezuela on October 15 and consider the review of the electoral system to be urgent, including, in particular, the renewal of the Consejo Nacional Electoral [national electoral council] with members appointed by the Asamblea Nacional [national assembly] and the issuance of a new electoral calendar, which should be overseen by independent electoral observers.
2. demand the immediate release of all political prisoners in Venezuela and the end of arbitrary measures that disqualify political opposition leaders, as well as restrict their free movement.
3. reaffirm their decision not to recognize the acts emanating from the national constituent assembly and reiterate their firm support of the democratically elected national assembly.
4. deplore that the Government of Venezuela does not allow international assistance to help meet the basic needs of the population, in particular health care and food, when the international community is bearing witness to the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country. According to trusted sources, child malnutrition has reached 11.4% (equivalent to a state of crisis, according to global standards), the primary school dropout rate has increased by 45% and the cost of the basic food basket has increased by 343% in the last year. Regarding health, 85% of persons requiring medicines can no longer find them, and diseases like malaria, thought to have been eradicated until 2014, have increased by 76%.
5. call on the United Nations and the Secretary-General to address this crisis and the ongoing human rights violations, and entrust the foreign ministers of Canada and Peru with conveying this to the Secretary-General.
6. express their concern over the exodus of thousands of Venezuelans, a situation that continues to worsen and represents an enormous challenge for the countries of the region, especially those bordering Venezuela.
7. declare that a negotiated agreement between both parties, with the support of the international community and in compliance with the conditions previously sought by the opposition, is the only peaceful solution to the current crisis; reiterate their willingness to support all efforts of credible negotiations undertaken in good faith; and urge the various opposition groups to maintain their unity, with a common platform, as an essential condition to reaching a solution to the crisis in Venezuela.
8. reaffirm their commitment, at the level of foreign ministers, to remain vigilant about the situation in Venezuela and to adopt appropriate measures, either individually or collectively, to promote the full restoration of rule of law and democratic order in that country.
9. decide to meet in Chile in January 2018.
- The Lima Group was established on August 8, 2017, to coordinate participating countries’ efforts and apply international pressure on Venezuela. Meetings of the group have been regularly attended by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia.
- Canada hosted the third ministerial meeting of the Lima Group in Toronto, Ontario, on October 26, 2017. The group discussed options to broaden cooperation with other international partners, maintain pressure on the Maduro regime and translate the group’s unwavering support for the Venezuelan people into further concrete actions. For Canada, this has involved two rounds of sanctions imposed on the Maduro regime.
- The Lima Group has committed to closely monitor events in Venezuela and apply pressure on Venezuela’s government until the full restoration of democracy in the country is achieved.