Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie referred to the current situation in Venezuela as the "most traumatic period for institutions and peace in our region in recent decades," after opening this morning the 15th Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Lima Group, held in Buenos Aires to continue the quest for solutions to the political and institutional crisis affecting Venezuela.
"We have to make great efforts to restore democratic order in Venezuela through the holding of elections," the Argentine Foreign Minister stated, as he presided along with his Peruvian counterpart, Néstor Popolizio, over the forum which today brought together representatives from 16 countries and the European Union.
"There is a vast number of political prisoners and people being tortured in Venezuela. There are people paying for life in Venezuela with their blood. We cannot allow freedom to be affected. As long as Venezuela lives under this dictatorship, all of our democracies are weakened," the Foreign Minister stated, and noted that "the situation in Venezuela threatens regional peace and security and compromises international security."
Faurie also mentioned the "terrible mass exodus of more than 4 million people, many of whom are in different countries of our continent, which is why we have created the Quito Process to help find a solution to this issue."
During the meeting, by video conference from Caracas, Faurie contacted the Interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, who thanked for "the efforts undertaken by the countries of the Lima Group to host Venezuelans" fleeing their homeland.
Faurie also highlighted that "Argentina has strived to integrate more than 130,000 Venezuelans, and has created a national registry for reports" against the regime.
In addition to the Representative of Venezuela to Argentina, Elisa Trotta, the event at the Palacio San Martín was attended by the Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana and Peru, and by High Representatives of the Governments of Canada, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Saint Lucia. Ecuador and, for the first time, El Salvador, represented by its Foreign Minister, also attended as observers. Enrique Iglesias, the Special Adviser for Venezuela of the European Union, was also present at the meeting.
The Lima Group meeting is held a few days after the presentation of the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which ratifies the claims made by the Lima Group since its creation and the urgent need to restore democratic order and respect for human rights in Venezuela.