Brazil calls on BRICS to heed 'cries' of Venezuelans

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) –


Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo on Friday pleaded with his counterparts in the BRICS group of emerging economies to heed the "cries" of Venezuelans and work together to end the crisis.

Araujo made the remarks at the start of a meeting with his counterparts from Russia, India, China and South Africa in Rio de Janeiro.

The group is deeply divided over how to respond to Venezuela, with Brazil the only BRICS member to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate acting president.

Russia and China still support Nicolas Maduro's socialist government.

"Venezuelans are crying for freedom," Araujo said in his opening remarks to the meeting, which comes in the run-up to a leaders' summit in November.

"We are hearing those cries in Brazil. The international community needs to hear these cries to do something and to act."

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow's opposition to "interference from the outside."

"We need to use the international law as the foundation and to support the Venezuelans into coming to the solution themselves," Lavrov said.

The Lima Group of a dozen Latin American countries and Canada, which is helping to mediate the Venezuelan crisis, on Tuesday urged the world to push Caracas to hold new presidential elections.

Venezuela was thrust into a political impasse six months ago when Guaido declared himself acting president after branding Maduro a "usurper" because of his "fraudulent" 2018 re-election.

Talks between the government and the opposition are stalled as Guaido, recognized by more than 50 countries, is demanding that Maduro step down and new elections be held.