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Declaration of the 15th Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Lima Group

Tuesday, 23 July 2019
Information for the Press N°: 

The Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela, members of the Lima Group, gathered in the city of Buenos Aires:

1. Renew their support for Venezuela's Interim President, Juan Guaidó, whom the National Assembly of Venezuela entrusted with said constitutional position, and underscore his unwavering leadership in the fight to restore democracy through free, fair and transparent elections, and to put an end to the usurpation of power perpetrated by Nicolás Maduro's illegitimate and dictatorial regime.

2. Reiterate their condemnation of the systematic human rights violations committed by Nicolás Maduro's illegitimate regime, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture, repression and denial of basic rights such as health, food and education, among others, which have been documented and confirmed in the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in Venezuela, presented at the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council.

Furthermore, they endorse the findings and recommendations contained in such Report and agree on the need to establish appropriate follow-up and investigation mechanisms within the Human Rights Council as soon as possible.

3. Decide to refer the abovementioned Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, so that it will be taken into consideration in the proceedings being conducted on the basis of the request filed by Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru in September 2018, which was subsequently endorsed by Costa Rica and France and welcomed by Germany, and which was supplemented in May 2019.

4. Request that the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights be discussed by the United Nations Security Council and by international organizations.

Consider that the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights does not leave room for certain countries to continue to support Maduro's illegitimate regime, and, thus, call upon them to join the Lima Group commitment and contribute to the return of the Rule of Law and democracy in Venezuela, reminding them once again that their support for the dictatorship threatens the stability of the whole region.

5. Reject the candidacy announced by Maduro's illegitimate regime, on behalf of Venezuela, for a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council, and request that, if elected, such seat be allocated to the legitimate government of Venezuela. In addition, they express their support for Brazil's candidacy for the Council.

6. Decide to support the request for an on-site visit to Venezuela made by President Guaidó to the Inter-American Commission, which was accepted by said institution, and demand that the de facto regime give free access to all sites the Inter-American Commission wishes to visit, and provide all security measures required to ensure protection of the lives and physical integrity of members.

7. Support the decision made by Venezuela's Interim President, Juan Guaidó, to seek a Venezuelan solution to his country's crisis through the ongoing efforts, and urge Nicolás Maduro's dictatorship to refrain from using said processes to delay the holding of presidential elections, respecting all applicable guarantees, as soon as possible. If that goal is not attained, additional pressure tactics will be implemented and additional sanctions will be imposed.

8. Decide to support, through their competent agencies, the relevant investigations and actions concerning the involvement of officials and front persons of Nicolás Maduro's illegitimate regime connecting them with unlawful acts of corruption, drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, as well as concerning the harbouring of terrorist organizations and illegal armed groups in Venezuelan territory, such as Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), and the impact of those acts on the region.

Agree to promote, with other States committed to the restoration of Venezuelan democracy, including the European Union and the United States, the creation of mechanisms to contribute to the documenting and investigation of acts of corruption, drug trafficking and serious human rights violations. They highlight the decision by the Argentine Government to establish a mechanism to gather testimonies and information from Venezuelan migrants regarding possible human rights violations in Venezuela.

9. Also underscore the need to encourage an investigation, broad in scope, of the support given to Nicolás Maduro's regime through the years by governments and political parties in the region by means of transnational corruption, drug trafficking and terrorist schemes.

10. Agree to continue to promote, through joint actions and cooperation with relevant international actors, such as the International Contact Group and CARICOM, convergence towards drawing a considerable number of attendants at the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela, to be held in Lima on 6 August.

11. Point out that the solution to the crisis in Venezuela lies with Venezuelans: this principle is incompatible with the current presence in Venezuela of military, security and intelligence agents from countries supporting the dictatorial regime. Therefore, they urge said countries to withdraw those agents from Venezuela as a condition to take part in any dialogue on the Venezuelan crisis.

12. Reiterate their concern about the aggravation of the Venezuelan migration exodus, which already has the markings of a tragedy due to the forced displacement of persons and the impact it has had on our countries, and call for continued regional, political and technical coordination and joint work with donor countries, international organizations and financial institutions, and request an increase in financial aid to host countries with a view to effectively meeting the needs of migrants.

13. State their rejection of fora and movements—such as the self-styled “São Paulo Forum”—that seek to act in defence of Nicolás Maduro's illegitimate dictatorship. Therefore, they urge all political groups that are truly committed to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, from this hemisphere or from other regions, not to participate in that line of action and, instead and in light of the OHCHR Report, to contribute to Venezuela's democratic transition process.

Underscore the fact that the crisis in Venezuela is regional, with global reach, and reiterate that restoring democracy in Venezuela is a necessary condition for Latin America to reaffirm itself on the path to freedom and prosperity, in accordance with its peoples' wishes.

14. Highlight participation in this meeting by the Special Adviser for Venezuela of the European Union, and by Ecuador and El Salvador, with whom points of agreement and potential joint lines of action were discussed with a view to contributing to a political solution to the Venezuelan crisis that is both peaceful and democratic.

15. Decide to remain permanently in session and welcome the offer of the Federative Republic of Brazil to host the next meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Lima Group on a date to be determined.