LIMA – A delegation from the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA) expressed support for a decision to bar leftist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from the eighth Summit of the Americas, which will be held from April 13-14 in the Peruvian capital.
Bernd Lange, a German member of the European Parliament (MEP) and head of the INTA delegation visiting Lima, said at a press conference on Thursday after meeting with Peruvian Foreign Minister Cayetana Aljovin that the EP fully supports the Lima Group’s decision concerning Maduro.
The Lima Group, a multilateral body of Latin American nations that was established last year to find a peaceful solution to the severe political and economic crisis in Venezuela, rejected on Tuesday Maduro’s presence in the Summit of the Americas at the host nation’s request.
Following that decision, Maduro said on Thursday he would arrive in Lima “come hell or high water,” a remark that prompted Peruvian Prime Minister Mercedes Araoz to say Maduro was unwelcome and would not be allowed to set foot on Peruvian soil or enter Peruvian airspace.
Lange said the EU has called for further sanctions against the Venezuelan president, while also stressing the importance of financial sanctions imposed on members of Maduro’s administration, which received international condemnation when it moved last year to establish a Constituent Assembly that sidelined the opposition-controlled legislature.
He said the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Feb. 8 that clearly states that Venezuela is not operating within the framework of a democratic process and that the presidential balloting scheduled for April 22 will not be considered a democratic election.
Lange also referred to the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have fled their homeland amid food shortages and hyperinflation and crossed into Colombia, Peru and other countries, saying these refugees also must receive more support from the EU.
The INTA delegation is on a two-day visit to Peru through Friday to assess the implementation of the EU’s free-trade agreement with Colombia and Peru, an accord that went into effect five years ago.