LONDON

Argentina announced Wednesday that it is withdrawing from the Lima Group, a multilateral body of Latin American countries.  

A press release by the Foreign Ministry decried the regional bloc’s isolationist policy towards Venezuela, saying it had “led to nothing.” 

The Lima Group was created by 12 Latin American countries in Peru’s capital in 2017 with the objective of restoring democracy in Venezuela through a “peaceful and negotiated solution.” 

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said it agreed with the aims of the Lima Group but without directly referencing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido noted that “the participation of a sector of the Venezuelan opposition has led to the adoption of positions that our government has not been able to and cannot support.” 

Previously under center-right President Mauricio Macri, Argentina had spoken out against Venezuela, although under current left-leaning President Alberto Fernandez, the position appears to be different. 

“We reiterate that the best way to help Venezuelans is by facilitating an inclusive dialogue that does not favor any particular sector, to achieve elections accepted by the majority with international oversight,” said the Foreign Ministry statement.

Argentina argued that sanctions and blockades against Venezuela during the economic crisis and coronavirus pandemic have worsened the situation for its population, particularly “its most vulnerable sectors.” 

“Argentina will continue to uphold its commitment to stability in the region and will seek to direct peaceful, democratic solutions that are respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of each State,” the ministry statement said. 

Wednesday’s announcement is in keeping with both President Fernandez and Foreign Minister Felipe Sola’s positions, following on from what Uruguay and Mexico have advocated regarding a “third way” of dealing with Venezuela. 

“We regret the Argentine government’s decision to abandon the Lima Group, which since 2017 has been fundamental in denouncing serious human rights violations in Venezuela and working toward the only real solution, which is to recover democracy in our country,” said Guaido’s envoy in Argentina, Elisa Trotta Gamus, on Twitter. 

The Lima Group is comprised of Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia and Peru, as well as other Latin American countries.

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