Chile, Mexico threaten to withdraw from Venezuela mediation over unilateral election call

SANTIAGO – Chile has conditioned its permanence as a guarantor in the negotiations that take place between the government and the opposition of Venezuelan in the Dominican Republic, after the Constituent Assembly decided to advance the presidential elections, which will be held before April 30.

This was confirmed by Chile’s Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz, who led the meeting of the so-called Lima Group at the Sheraton Hotel, where representatives from 14 countries met to analyze the situation in Venezuela and condemned the decision to schedule the elections for the first quarter of the year, when it was expected to be done by the end of 2018.

“The situation that has arisen with the government’s unilateral call for presidential elections in the first four months and without the minimum guarantees of transparent democratic elections according to democratic standards means a serious questioning of Chile’s participation in this process,” he said.

In this regard, he stressed that “if this situation is consolidated, Chile will review its participation in the group of accompanying countries. We hope that this decision will be reversed so that we do not have to move away from the negotiations in the Dominican Republic.”

For his part, Mexico’s chancellor Luis Videgaray announced that his country will withdraw from the negotiations in which it participated as a guarantor country along with Chile, Nicaragua and Bolivia, in protest of the early call for elections.

“The announcement made obliges us (to withdraw). We have participated in this process in good faith. In congruence, something that we have said from the beginning, beyond critical points, it is our obligation to contribute (…) so that Venezuelans find a peaceful and democratic solution,” he said.

In this way, he said that “one of the points to negotiate was the date of the election. A negotiation that was not concluded. If one of the parties unilaterally defines the date of the election, it means that the process has ceased to be serious. “After more than seven hours of meeting, the Lima Group led in this session by Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz, presented the report they arrived with the other RREE ministers. once analyzed the complex situation of Venezuela.

Ten points were announced. Among them, the first two stand out, referring to the recently convened presidential elections in the Latin American country, a decision taken unanimously by the National Constituent Assembly.

“We demand the government’s decision to call elections for the first quarter of this year, as it makes transparent and credible elections impossible,” the Lima Group said. In addition, the Chilean foreign minister added that one of the topics studied at the meeting was acts of violence seen the last days and the prompt release of political prisoners.

“We condemn the acts of violence for the loss of life (…) and we condemn that they remain political prisoners. Your release is an indispensable requirement. ” On the other hand, the foreign ministers presented in the report that they express their “deep concern” about the exodus of thousands of Venezuelans, a fact that manifests itself as a challenge for the countries of the region. And also, they demanded that the Venezuelan government accept the humanitarian aid that other nations offer to the South American country. Finally, Muñoz added that they will continue to monitor the situation in Venezuela and will continue to meet whenever necessary.