Argentina will not recognize Venezuela vote: Macri

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


Argentina will not recognize the result of next months' Venezuelan presidential election, which is being boycotted by the main opposition parties, President Mauricio Macri said Tuesday.

Macri was speaking after talks in Buenos Aires with visiting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, during which they discussed the Venezuela crisis.

"We are not going to validate the result of the election on May 20," said Macri. "It does not have any value, even if Mr Maduro insults me, we will not recognize him as a democratic president because there has not been a democracy in Venezuela for some time."

Despite presiding over an economic collapse, Socialist President Nicolas Maduro is seeking a second six-year term in elections which the opposition coalition claims are effectively rigged in advance.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Macri said the crisis would be "top of the agenda" at the Summit of the Americas, which begins Friday in Lima.

The center-right Argentine president said countries agreeing that the elections have no validity will discuss at the summit what measures could be taken against Maduro's government.

Rajoy said that "unfortunately the problem (of Venezuela) is of such magnitude that it already affects the entire region and has overflowed all borders."

Oil-rich Venezuela's crushing economic and political crisis has caused widespread shortages of basic goods, in addition to hyperinflation which the International Monetary Fund expects to run to 13,000 percent this year.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country, mostly taking refuge in neighboring Colombia.

The main opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable, known as the MUD, is boycotting the elections, saying they lack guarantees of a free and fair vote.

Maduro's main opponent is Henri Falcon, a former governor who is defying MUD's boycott.