Panama and the Lima Group reiterate their position on Venezuela

Faced with the start of the January 10th, 2019 start of the illegitimate presidential period of the Nicolas Maduro regime, the government of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia, express the following:

  1. They reiterate that the elections that took place in Venezuela on May 20, 2018 are illegitimate because they did not count with the participation of all the Venezuelan political actors, nor the presence of independent international observers, nor the the international standards and guarantees necessary for a free, fair and transparent process. Consequently, the governments do not recognize the legitimacy of the new presidential period of the Nicolas Maduro regime that begins on January 10th, 2019.

  2. They reaffirm their support and recognition of the National Assembly, which was legitimately elected on December 6, 2015, as the democratically elected constitutional body in Venezuela.

  3. They urge Nicolas Maduro to not assume the presidency on January 10, 2019, respect the attributions of the National Assembly, and to transfer it executive power in a provisional manner until new democratic presidential elections can take place.

  4. They highlight the importance of respect for the integrity, autonomy and independence of the Supreme Court of Justice legitimately conformed, in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution, for the full exercise of the rule of law in that country.

  5. They reaffirm their unequivocal and firm condemnation of the rupture of the constitutional order and of the Rule of Law in Venezuela, emphasizing that only through the full restoration of democracy and respect for human rights, can the causes of the political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis that the country is going through be addressed.

  6. They express their conviction that the solution to the political crisis in Venezuela corresponds to Venezuelans and, therefore, reiterate their permanent determination to support political and diplomatic initiatives that lead to the restoration of constitutional order, democracy and the rule of law in that country, through the celebration of a new electoral process with democratic guarantees.

  7. They express their determination to continue promoting initiatives in multilateral forums, particularly in the Organization of American States and the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, in order to contribute to the restoration of democratic order and respect for human rights in Venezuela.

  8. They call on all OAS member countries to reaffirm their support for the OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, in order to contribute to the restoration of democratic order in Venezuela.

  9. They condemn any provocation or military deployment that threatens peace and security in the region. They call on the regime of Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan Armed Forces to desist from actions that violate the sovereign rights of their neighbors. In that sense, they express their deep concern over the interception carried out on December 22, 2018, of a seismic research vessel by the Venezuelan Navy within the exclusive economic zone of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

  10. They reiterate their deep concern over the serious political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, which has generated a massive exodus of migrants and asylum seekers from that country, as a result of the anti-democratic, oppressive and dictatorial acts and policies practiced by the Nicolás Maduro regime, which can only be resolved through the full restoration of democratic order and respect for human rights. They also renew their commitment, to the extent of their possibilities, to continue providing assistance to migrants from Venezuela, as well as to promote and develop regional coordination initiatives in response to this crisis. In this regard, they welcome the inclusion for the first time of the crisis of migrants and refugees from Venezuela in the UN Global Humanitarian Appeal for 2019, as well as the appointment of the joint representative of IOM and UNHCR.

  11. They express their concern for the impact that the crisis in Venezuela has had on the economy and security of countries in the region.

  12. They urge the Venezuelan regime to allow the immediate entry of humanitarian assistance for the people of Venezuela, in order to prevent the aggravation of the humanitarian and public health crisis in that country and its transnational effects.

They agree on the following measures:

  1. To reassess the status or level of diplomatic relations with Venezuela, based on the restoration of democracy and constitutional order in that country, and the need to protect their nationals and interests.

  2. As allowed by their domestic laws, to prevent the high officials of the Venezuelan regime from entering the territory of the countries of the Lima Group; prepare lists of natural and legal persons with which financial and banking entities of their countries should not operate or should have special due diligence, prevent their access to the financial system and, if necessary, freeze their funds and other assets or economic resources.

  3. To evaluate with restrictive criteria the granting of loans to the Nicolás Maduro regime in the international and regional financial organizations of which they are a part of.

  4. To suspend military cooperation with the Nicolás Maduro regime, including the transfer of arms in light of Articles 6 and 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty, as well as assess the overflight permits of Venezuelan military aircraft in cases of humanitarian assistance.

  5. Intensify contact with countries not members of the Lima Group in order to keep them informed of the actions of the Group, of the seriousness of the situation in Venezuela and of the need to work together for the restoration of democracy in that country.

  6. In relation to the request presented by Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru to the International Criminal Court to investigate the commission of possible crimes against humanity in Venezuela, urge other countries to support it and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to move quickly in the corresponding procedures.

  7. Urge other members of the international community to adopt measures similar to those agreed by the Lima Group against the Nicolás Maduro regime for the restoration of democracy.

Original full statement in spanish here: