Venezuela crisis: Lima Group to denounce Maduro at UNGA, ICC

LIMA – The Lima Group will meet today in New York, United States, to evaluate the Venezuelan migration in the region and the alarming situation in the Latin American country which has caused over 2.5 million people to emigrate to escape widespread shortages of food and medicine.

In statements to the Andean Agency, Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Néstor Popolizio specified that the meeting, convened by the Foreign Ministry, will be held within the framework of the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

He added that, in addition, a multilateral meeting with Venezuelan migration as its central theme is being promoted along with Colombia.

“As you know, this is an issue that has overflowed national policies and now what we see is a regional and multilateral approach,” he said. To do this, it seeks to capture the cooperation of the multilateral organizations of the United Nations system and the attention of the cooperating countries, he added.

Popolizio recalled that for the Foreign Ministry, Venezuela is an authoritarian regime.

Colombia’s new president, Ivan Duque, called Monday for the diplomatic isolation of neighboring Venezuela, urging pressure to restore democracy in what he labeled a dictatorship.

At the annual United Nations General Assembly, the right-leaning leader said Caracas should be barred from talks called for Tuesday to support countries that have taken in migrants from the country grappling with a severe political and economic crisis.

Some 2.3 million Venezuelans, or 7.5 percent of the population, live abroad with the number sharply growing in the past several years as hyperinflation slashes the worth of salaries and makes necessities prohibitively expensive, according to the UN.

Colombia has accepted more than one million Venezuelans.

The Lima Group is made up of foreign ministers from countries in the region that seek to take joint measures to achieve an exit from the crisis that overwhelms the Venezuelan people.

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‘Crimes against humanity’

Last week Peru’s deputy foreign minister, Hugo de Zela, announced that the foreign ministers of Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay and his country will ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to begin a preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity in Venezuela.

“We have coordinated the foreign ministers of five countries, specifically, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru. We are going to sign on Tuesday afternoon a letter addressed to the ICC requesting that a preliminary investigation be initiated into the crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela,” Hugo de Zela told EFE.

Uruguay, whose treatment of the crisis in the government of Nicolás Maduro has been ambiguous in recent years, does not participate in this list of countries that will denounce human rights violations.


Earlier this year, an international panel of experts in a 400-page report found that the Venezuelan government had committed more than 8,200 unlawful executions and arbitrarily imprisoned over 12,000 people since Nicolas Maduro succeeded Hugo Chavez as president in 2013. Officials also jailed more than 1,200 political prisoners and killed 131 demonstrators who took part in protests against Maduro beginning in 2014.

The report, which was published in May, also denounced Maduro’s recent re-election, finding that “the regime moved forward with the fraudulent elections, continues to act with impunity and the people of Venezuela endure increasing intimidation, fear, repression and assault.”

The panel’s members — Santiago Canton of Argentina, Irwin Cotler of Canada and Manuel Ventura of Costa Rica — called for a formal investigation into the charges and asked the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, to submit their report to the ICC.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced prior to the report’s presentation that he had opened a preliminary investigation into criminal allegations against Venezuelan security forces, raising the possibility of a subsequent full investigation and prosecution.

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