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VENEZUELA: Lima Group Rejects Call For Elections In The Country

VENEZUELA: Lima Group Rejects Call For Elections In The Country

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro says he's reopening the country's consulate in Miami, citing requests from fellow citizens who want to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

The 'Lima Group of Latin American nations plus Canada has criticised the Venezuelan government's decision to hold a presidential election on April 22 without reaching an agreement with an opposition coalition.

Venezuela abruptly set elections last week following a breakdown in official talks with opposition leaders to diffuse the country's bitter political fight, which led to bloody street protests previous year.

In a statement, the 14 countries said the election would not be free and fair as long as Venezuela has political prisoners, the opposition was not fully participating and Venezuelans overseas were not allowed to vote. While Maduro's opponents had been petitioning for a date that would provide ample time to elect new electoral authorities and invite global observers, the ruling socialists did exactly the opposite and accelerated elections under current conditions. Peru's decision was made with the support of the Lima Group, which upheld the high democratic standard for Summit participation.

"Cuba energetically condemns the pronouncement of a group of countries of the Western Hemisphere of February 13 in Lima, that constitutes an unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela", highlights a declaration of the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

"In Colombia, they are planning to bring back times that have already ended, like military bombing, a military invasion or the occupation - through blood and gunfire - of a peaceful country like Venezuela", Saab said during a speech in the Venezuelan state of Anzoátegui on Monday. Several members, notably including Colombia, have said they would not recognize the results of the election.




Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are pouring over the country's borders to neighboring Colombia, Brazil and even Caribbean islands to escape the economic meltdown.

'I appreciate the offers of financial and other aid from the global community.

"We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace", Maduro declared at a military parade past year.

Many traveled to other states to vote in the election.

Colombia and Venezuela have a long history of diplomatic and territorial disputes.

Last Thursday, Santos said he would institute stricter migration controls, temporarily suspend new daily entry cards, and deploy 3,000 new security personnel, including 2,120 more soldiers, along the 2,219km shared frontier.


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