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  • The Lima Group discusses Venezuela and President Nicolas Maduro's second term, Peru, January 4, 2019.

    The Lima Group discusses Venezuela and President Nicolas Maduro's second term, Peru, January 4, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 January 2019

"We reiterate our rejection of any initiative that includes measures that obstruct a dialogue to face the crisis in Venezuela."

Mexico has refused to sign a joint declaration by the so-called Lima Group that describes the re-election of President Nicolas Maduro as “illegitimate,” preferring instead to maintain good diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan government.

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"Mexico firmly promotes dialogue with all involved parties to find peace and reconciliation, for which we reiterate our rejection of any initiative that includes measures that obstruct a dialogue to face the crisis in Venezuela," an official statement issued by Mexico's foreign ministry reads.

The remaining members of the Lima Group, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia, issued the declaration on Friday urging Maduro not to take office on January 10 because the last elections were “illegitimate.”

The declaration demands Maduro “respect the power of the National Assembly and temporarily transfer to it the executive power until new presidential and democratic elections take place.”

But instead of condemning the government of Maduro, the new government of Mexico decided to maintain relations in order to find a political solution to the crisis.

The statement declares Mexico's support for initiatives to help Venezuelan society find "through peaceful means and with the participation of the involved actors, a solution to their problems."

"We advocate for this group to encourage the establishment of conditions so every sector in Venezuela can hold a real dialogue that promotes relations and reaching agreements to recover estability for our Venezuelan brothers," reads the statement.

Mexico had poor relations with Caracas during the administration of Vicente Fox, Felipe Caldero and Enrique Peña Nieto, all pressuring the governments of Hugo Chavez and Maduro.

That chapter in Mexico’s foreign policy represented a change from its traditional ‘non-interventionist’ policy, but the presidency of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador aims for a return.

Lopez Obrador faced harsh criticism from the regional right after he invited Maduro to his swearing-in ceremony on December 1.

Although Maduro did not appear in public, he attended a lunch with diplomats and heads of state at the national palace and met with Lopez Obrador in private.

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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted that the Lima Group takes orders from U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, even though the United States is not a member.

Pompeo didn’t attend the meeting, but apparently he was present on the phone.

Venezuela held general elections on May 20, 2018, resulting in a landslide victory for Maduro.

The Lima Group condemned the elections for not including “every Venezuelan political actors or the presence of independent international observers, nor the guarantees and international standards for a free, fair and transparent process.”

It also accused the Venezuelan government of provoking a “massive exodus of migrants and asylum seekers,” a result of the “antidemocratic, oppressive and dictatorial” policies of Maduro.

The Lima signatories said they would “reevaluate” their diplomatic relations with Venezuela, banning the entry of senior government officials to their territories, preventing them from accessing the financial system, freezing their funds and suspending military cooperation.

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