Lima Group condemns Maduro’s reelection; recalls ambassadors from Venezuela

LIMA – The fourteen members of the Lima Group have declared they do not recognize the re-election of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in a Sunday vote marred by international accusations that it was rigged.

All 14 members of the group issued a statement on Monday condemning the election and saying they will call back their ambassadors in Caracas for consultations on what to do next, as well as summon the Venezuelan ambassadors in each country to express their concerns.

The statement also said the countries will reduce their diplomatic presences in Venezuela as a result.

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There is no indication in the statement that the Lima Group countries will permanently pull their ambassadors from Caracas.

“They do not recognize the legitimacy of the electoral process carried out in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that ended on May 20, for not complying with the international standards of a democratic, free, fair and transparent process,” a translation of the statement issued by the Lima Group reads.

“They agree to reduce the level of their diplomatic relations with Venezuela, for which they will call for consultations to the ambassadors in Caracas and will summon the ambassadors of Venezuela to express our protest.”

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Maduro has attacked the democratic institutions of Venezuela over the past several years and worked to stamp out opposition to his government, which is facing intense condemnation over its handling of rampant inflation and economic decline.

Opposition parties had warned in advance they feared the vote would be rigged in Maduro’s favor. A declaration of his victory on Sunday said he got 5.8 million votes while his nearest rival received 1.8 million votes.

The Lima Group is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Saint Lucia.