With Caracas and the Venezuelan opposition still locked in a stalemate after the botched coup attempt in April, Guaido supporter Peru has invited Russia, China, Turkey, Cuba and the US to the next Lima Group meet-up.
Peru’s foreign minister Nestor Popolizio told a Wednesday press conference that his government has sent out invitations to some 100 countries to join the August 6 meeting of the 14-member Lima Group.
Among the invitees are Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia and Turkey, the countries that have rejected the attempt by Western-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to overthrow the government and stood by elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The US, which was the first nation to recognize Guaido and has since been aggressively promoting his cause, including encouraging the Venezuelan military to defect to Guaido’s side, has also been invited to the August gathering.
Popolizio said that by seeking to gather both Guaido allies and those backing the Maduro government, Lima is “looking for a point of convergence that allows us to establish a credible dialogue” that might eventually pave the way for snap elections in the crisis-hit country. However, taking into account the sides’ opposing takes on the Venezuelan issue, there is no talk about drawing up any binding document in the wake of the meeting.
It remains to be seen whether Lima’s invitation is a genuine call for dialogue or a token show of willingness to compromise, and whether it’s been prompted by the failure of Guaido’s attempted blitz to power, which instead has become a bogged-down stand-off with Maduro despite the massive support the US and its allies have thrown behind the rebel.
The meeting will focus on the humanitarian aspect of the conflict, including the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, spawned by a severe economic crisis exacerbated by soaring inflation, water, food shortages and occasional power blackouts. Caracas blames the dire situation the country now finds itself in on the crippling effect of economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
Neither the representatives of Maduro, nor those of Guaido have been invited to the August gathering, with Popolizio saying their presence would “polarize the meeting.”
Established in 2017, the Lima Group consists of Latin American countries, Caribbean nations and Canada. The majority of the group’s members have consistently vouched for Guaido, calling for a “peaceful transition” of power from Maduro, while at the same time urging the Venezuelan military to join the rebellion.
In February, eleven of the group’s members recognized Guaido’s parallel government and pledged to welcome it into the Lima Group, vowing to treat his envoy as the representative of Venezuela.
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