Lima Group seeks broader international support for Guaido


Ottawa (AFP)

More than a dozen Latin American nations and Canada who form the Lima Group on Thursday called for broader international support for opposition leader Juan Guaido in crisis-wracked Venezuela.

"Today, the Lima Group is issuing an appeal to all countries who share a desire to see a return to democracy in Venezuela to join together," Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told a press conference with his counterparts.

"We need to speak with a single, unified voice as international partners to find new approaches to end the political, humanitarian and economic crisis in line with the desire of the Venezuelan people and interim president Juan Guaido."

More than 50 countries already recognize Guaido as acting president in the South American country following Nicolas Maduro's 2018 re-election, denounced by the opposition as rigged.

But in Venezuela enthusiasm for more demonstrations has waned in recent months, and frustration among Guaido supporters is growing as Maduro -- with the support of the country's powerful military -- continues to resist Guaido's challenge.

More than 4.5 million people have fled the country in the biggest exodus of refugees in Latin American history.

Champagne warned "time is of the essence" for a political solution, as Venezuela faces a "crisis of historic proportion."

The Ottawa meeting of the Lima Group -- which includes Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Mexico -- followed on the heels Guaido's global tour that included a White House meeting with President Donald Trump and a visit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to drum up support.