Lima Group says won’t recognize Maduro as Venezuela president
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Lima Group says won’t recognize Maduro as Venezuela president

The regional group that also includes Canada says it only recognizes the opposition-controlled National Assembly as Venezuela's constitutionally-elected body. The 14-nation body was meeting in the Peruvian capital Lima to discuss ways to step up international pressure on Maduro’s government. "The electoral process carried out in Venezuela on May 20, 2018 is not legitimate," stated Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio, adding, "It did not provide the guarantees or meet the international standards necessary for a free, just and transparent process." The move coincides with a statement from Venezuela's opposition-dominated National Assembly, calling Maduro’s new term illegitimate. Maduro was re-elected in May after an early election called by the ruling Constituent Assembly which was marred by accusations of irregularities as well as an opposition boycott. Following the controversial election, Maduro’s main challenger Henri Falcon said he would not recognize the vote for what he called irregularities, including widespread vote buying in favor of Maduro. “As far as we are concerned there has been no election. There must be new elections in Venezuela,” he told reporters. “The process undoubtedly lacks legitimacy and as such we do not recognize it.” Falcon, who broke with an opposition boycott to run for the election, also called for a fresh election to be held in November or December. Several of Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors as well as the European Union also joined voices with Maduro’s challenger and said they would not recognize the results of the election. The US also said it would not recognize the election and would actively consider oil sanctions on the country. The Lima Group is a multilateral body that was established following the Lima Declaration on 8 August 2017 in the Peruvian capital of Lima, where representatives of 12 countries met in order to establish a peaceful exit to the crisis in Venezuela, which has caused millions of Venezuelans to flee into neighboring countries. Twelve countries initially signed the declaration: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru. Guyana and Saint Lucia joined later. Thirteen of the group's members will not recognize Maduro's new term and will also bar high-ranking Venezuelan officials from entering their territory as much as their domestic laws allow, the statement said.  Mexico, once one of the most outspoken critics of Maduro, was the only member of the coalition to abstain from the vote.

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