LIMA – The 17 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean meeting on Tuesday in the Peruvian capital to discuss the Venezuelan situation reaffirmed their joint opinion that the South American nation “is no longer a democracy” and that its National Constituent Assembly, convened by President Nicolas Maduro and tasked with drafting a new constitution, is “illegitimate.”
The two conclusions were expressed in the so-called Lima Declaration released by the foreign ministers upon the conclusion of their all-day meeting and included their recognition of Venezuela’s National Assembly – or Parliament – as the only legitimate elected body in Venezuela, a rejection of violence and a condemnation of the human rights violations being committed in that country.
The declaration was presented by Peruvian Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna, who told reporters that “what occurred in Venezuela” in recent days – that is, the installation of the constitutional assembly – “is a decisive rupture” in the country’s political situation and that “what we have now is that Venezuela is a dictatorship.”
“Basically, the declaration is an agreement about the fact that in Venezuela the democratic order has broken down, and reestablishing that order lies in undoing the Constituent Assembly,” Luna said.
The Lima Declaration declared the participating nations’ “full support and solidarity” with the “democratically elected” National Assembly and stated that all judicial acts under the prevailing Constitution “require the authorization” of same and will only be recognized when the Parliament “has approved them.”
In addition, Luna expressed the group’s “support for and solidarity with Attorney General Luis Ortega Diaz and the officials of the Venezuelan Public Ministry” who were fired by the Constituent Assembly, going on to demand the “implementation of the precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”
The Peruvian foreign minister also condemned “the systematic violation of human rights and basic liberties, the violence, the repression, the political persecution, the existence of political prisoners and the lack of free elections under independent international observation” in Venezuela.
The foreign ministers also requested the suspension of any arms transfers to Venezuela while the current situation continues there.
Venezuela has been beset by a wave of anti-government protests since April 1 that have left at least 121 people dead, a situation that became more acute with the installation of the Constituent Assembly last Friday, given that the body is not recognized by the Venezuelan opposition or by many governments or international organizations.