LIMA – Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has said that Venezuela’s leader Nicolás Maduro is “not welcome” at a regional summit to be held in his country’s capital, Lima, in April.
Kuczynski cited “a rupture in the democratic order” in Venezuela as the reason for uninviting Maduro, also calling on Venezuela to release all political prisoners.
Just last week, Venezuelan officials had confirmed that President Maduro would attend the summit.
The Peruvian president made the announcement after a meeting of the “Lima Group”, which is made up of more than a dozen Western Hemisphere countries concerned about the political and economic crisis in Venezuela.
On Wednesday, the group, which includes regional powers Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, criticized the decision by the Venezuelan government to hold a snap presidential election on 22 April without reaching an agreement with the opposition coalition.
In a joint statement, 14 countries from the Lima Group said the elections would not be free and fair as long as Venezuela’s opposition was not allowed to fully participate.
The Lima group urged Venezuela to present a new electoral calendar.
The presidential polls were originally due to be held in December but were brought forward by the constituent assembly, a body made up exclusively of government supporters.
Colombia, a member of the Lima Group, has already said it would not recognize the result of the Venezuelan elections unless there were sufficient guarantees for a transparent electoral process.