In light of the beginning, on January 10, 2019, of the illegitimate presidential term of Nicolas Maduro and his regime in Venezuela (2019 to 2025), the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia express the following:
- We reiterate that the electoral process that took place in Venezuela on May 20, 2018, lacked legitimacy as it neither included the participation of all political actors in Venezuela, nor did it have the presence of independent international observers, nor did it comply with the necessary guarantees or international standards for a free, fair and transparent election. Accordingly, we do not recognize the legitimacy of the new presidential term of Nicolas Maduro, or his regime, which commences on January 10, 2019.
- We ratify our full support and recognition of the National Assembly, which was legitimately elected on December 6, 2015, as a democratically elected constitutional institution in Venezuela.
- We urge Mr. Maduro to not assume the office of president on January 10, 2019, to respect the powers of the National Assembly and to provisionally transfer executive powers to the National Assembly until new democratic elections are held.
- We highlight the importance of respecting the integrity, autonomy and independence of the Supreme Court of Justice, which was legitimately formed according to the Venezuelan Constitution, for the full application of the rule of law in Venezuela.
- We reaffirm our firm and unequivocal condemnation of the rupture of the constitutional order and the rule of law in Venezuela, and highlight that only through the full restoration, as soon as possible, of democracy and respect for human rights in that country will the causes of the political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis that is taking place in that country be addressed.
- We express our conviction that the solution to the political crisis in Venezuela must come from the Venezuelan people and, as such, reiterate our permanent determination to support political and diplomatic initiatives that are conducive to the reestablishment of the constitutional order, democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela through holding a new electoral process with democratic guarantees.
- We express our determination to continue fostering initiatives in multilateral forums, especially the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations Human Rights Council, to help re-establish democratic order and the respect for human rights in Venezuela.
- We call on all member states of the OAS to reaffirm their support for the OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter in order to contribute to the reestablishment of democracy in Venezuela.
- We condemn any provocation or military deployment that threatens peace and security in the region and call upon the Maduro regime and the Venezuelan Armed Forces to refrain from any actions that violate the sovereign rights of neighboring countries. In this regard, we express our deep concern about the interception of a seismic research vessel in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana by the Venezuelan Navy on December 22, 2018.
- We reiterate our grave concern for the serious political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, which has caused the massive exodus of migrants and asylum seekers from Venezuela. This has occurred as a result of the anti-democratic, oppressive and dictatorial actions and policies undertaken by the Maduro regime, which will only be resolved with the full restoration of democracy and respect for human rights. Similarly, we renew our commitment, within our capabilities, to continue to offer assistance to migrants from Venezuela and to promote and develop initiatives for regional coordination in response to this crisis. In this regard, we welcome that, for the first time, the Venezuelan migration and refugee crisis has been included in the UN Global Humanitarian Overview for 2019. We also welcome the appointment the Joint Special Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration.
- We express our concern for the impacts on the economies and the security of countries in the region caused by the political crisis in Venezuela.
- We urge the Venezuelan regime to allow humanitarian aid for the people of Venezuela to enter its territory to prevent the worsening of the humanitarian and public health crisis currently taking place and its cross-border effects.
- We agree on the following measures:
- Reassess the status or the level of diplomatic relations with Venezuela with a view to the re-establishment of democracy and the constitutional order in Venezuela and the need to protect our own nationals and other interests.
- In accordance with respective national legislations, prevent high-level Venezuelan officials from entering the territory of Lima Group members and establish lists of natural and legal persons with whom financial and banking institutions of member countries should not conduct operations or should undertake special due diligence, preventing their access to the financial system, and, where applicable, freezing their funds and other assets or economic resources.
- Evaluate restricting the granting of loans to the Maduro regime at international and regional financial organizations of which Lima Group countries are members.
- Suspend military cooperation with the Maduro regime, including the transfer of armaments in light of articles 6 and 7 of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, and assess the granting of overflight permits for Venezuelan military aircraft in cases of humanitarian assistance.
- Intensify engagement with countries that are not part of the Lima Group to keep them informed of the measures adopted by the Lima Group, the seriousness of the situation in Venezuela and the need to work together for the reestablishment of democracy in that country.
- With regard to the request submitted to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court by Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru for an investigation into the possible commission of crimes against humanity in Venezuela, we encourage other countries to support the submission, and urge the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to proceed expeditiously with the corresponding procedures.
- Urge other members of the international community to adopt similar measures to those agreed upon by the Lima Group against the Maduro regime in order to promote the re-establishment of democracy in Venezuela.