Translated from the original (in Spanish) by Economic Development Consultant, Peter Lansiquot, President of the Saint Lucia-Venezuela Solidarity and Integrationist Movement (SLVSIM).
ARGENTINA/ST LUCIA – The Argentine government formalized its withdrawal from the so-called Lima Group on Wednesday, considering that “the actions promoted by that bloc at the international level have not led to anything seeking to isolate the government of Venezuela and its representatives.”
This was reported by the foreign ministry, led by Felipe Solá, through a press release released on Wednesday afternoon.
“Today, the Argentine Republic formalized its withdrawal from the so-called Lima Group, considering that the actions that the Group has been promoting at the international level, seeking to isolate the government of Venezuela and its representatives, have not led to anything,” the official text begins.
In addition to Argentina, which is now formalizing its withdrawal from the bloc, the Lima Group is made up of thirteen other countries on the continent: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Saint Lucia.
In the text with which it announced the decision, the foreign ministry indicated that “the participation of a sector of the Venezuelan opposition as one more member of the Lima Group has led to the adoption of positions that our government has not been able to and cannot support.”
“Once again, we reiterate that the best way to help Venezuelans is by facilitating an inclusive dialogue that does not favor any particular sector, but rather to achieve elections accepted by the majority with international control,” said the San Martin Palace statement. With the same emphasis, he affirmed that the Venezuelan authorities cannot ignore “that producing the conditions for a dialogue that is productive is primarily their responsibility.”
Argentina also maintains that in “a context in which the pandemic has wreaked havoc in the region, the sanctions and blockades imposed on Venezuela and its authorities, as well as the destabilization attempts that occurred in 2020, have only aggravated the situation of its population and, in particular, that of its most vulnerable sectors ”.
The sanctions, as understood by the ministry of foreign affairs, “have affected the enjoyment of human rights by the Venezuelan population, according to what is found in the report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Negative Repercussions of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights”.
“In this spirit, Argentina will continue to maintain 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 official statement said.
What is the Lima Group
The Lima Group, in which the government of Mauricio Macri had a broad and active participation, was established after the Declaration signed on August 8, 2017, in the Peruvian capital and in which representatives of 14 American countries signed the first of several documents criticizing the political and human rights situation in Venezuela. So much so that former foreign minister Jorge Faurie went so far as to affirm that one of his “greatest achievements” at the head of the San Martín Palace had been “having collaborated to defend the freedom and human rights of Venezuelans” through the aforementioned multilateral agreement.
“The Lima Group is a substantial part of this pride that I feel: we were the first expression of the international community to work for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” said Faurie on November 8, 2019, during his participation in the meeting held by that forum, in Brasilia.
Fernández’s questions to the Group
The impulse that the Together For Change administration had given to the bloc of countries opposed to Nicolás Maduro had been severely contested by different actors of Kirchnerism, and already during the presidential campaign and in the first months of the government of the United Front, it was Alberto Fernández himself who questioned the motivation of that Group. For example, the president repeatedly observed that countries such as Uruguay and Mexico had refused to participate in it.
In addition, Fernández spoke – during his first official tour – on the subject with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and together they had agreed that isolation would not have an impact on a solution for Venezuelan problems. Some months later, in a radio interview, Fernández pointed out that the Lima Group “was created for ideological reasons and is obsessed with Venezuela.”
The president highlighted at that time that, since the coming to power of his government, “Argentina never participated in meetings or signed documents” and that in his management the only thing he did with respect to that group was to take “distance”, and today becoming definitely a non-member of the same.
Moreover, in that interview, the president also highlighted the need to “reconstitute” UNASUR so that “each Latin American country is represented beyond the ideological” and considered that “the Lima Group was the bullet they fired” against that regional bloc, UNASUR.
“The correct project is that of UNASUR and not that of the Lima Group, which was created for ideological reasons and is obsessed with Venezuela, while UNASUR is obsessed with developing Latin America,” the president had remarked in October last year.
Note from the translator
Saint Lucia was improperly (without the authorization of the Cabinet of ministers and without discussion in the parliament of Saint Lucia) brought into the Lima Group cabal by prime minister Allen Chastanet, and since that time, nearly five years ago, relations between Saint Lucia and Venezuela have dissipated into thin air.
No matter which governing administrations have been in office in Saint Lucia, or in Venezuela, throughout the history of these two countries, cordial and diplomatic relations were never obstructed between the two countries.
In this regard, prime minister Chastanet has taken the once proud and developing island nation-state, to a completely unprecedented new low.