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Statement by Lima Group on electoral process in Venezuela

Monday, May 21, 2018

The governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia, express the following:

1. They do not recognize the legitimacy of the electoral process held in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that concluded on May 20, as it did not comply with international standards for a democratic, free, fair and transparent process.

2. They agree to downgrade the level of their diplomatic relations with Venezuela, and will therefore recall their Ambassadors in Caracas for consultations and summon the Ambassadors of Venezuela to express our protest.

3. They reiterate their concern about the deepening political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis that has deteriorated the standard of living in Venezuela, which is reflected in the massive migration of Venezuelans who arrive in our countries in difficult conditions, and in the loss of democratic institutions and the rule of law, as well as by the lack of guarantees and political freedoms of their citizens.

4. They decide to submit a new resolution on the situation in Venezuela at the 48th session of the General Assembly of the Organization of the American States.

5. In order to address the situation resulting from the worrying increase in the flows of Venezuelans who are forced to leave their country, and due to the impact that this situation is having on the entire region, they decide to adopt the following measures:

  • Convene a high-level meeting with authorities responsible for migration and refugee matters to exchange best practices and define the guidelines for a comprehensive response, including issues of migratory accommodations and identity documents. In this regard, they accept the offer of Peru to host said meeting during the first half of June.
  • Consider the possibility of making financial contributions to the relevant international organizations to strengthen the institutional capacities of countries in the region, especially neighbouring countries, to address the migratory flows of Venezuelans.

6. They deplore the serious humanitarian situation in Venezuela and, considering the public health implications for the entire region, decide to adopt the following measures:

  • Convene a high-level meeting with health authorities to coordinate actions in the area of public health and strengthen cooperation to address the epidemiological emergency.
  • Support the supply of medicines by independent institutions as well as epidemiological surveillance actions in Venezuela and its neighbouring countries, particularly due to the reappearance of diseases such as measles, malaria and diphtheria.

7. Reiterate paragraph 4 of the Lima Declaration of August 8, 2017, and, with a view to helping preserve the powers of the National Assembly, agree to adopt, where their legislation and internal regulations allow, the following economic and financial measures:

  • Request that the competent authorities of each country issue and update nationwide circulars or bulletins that convey to the financial and banking sector the risk they might incur if they carry out operations with the Venezuelan government that do not have the endorsement of the National Assembly, including payment agreements and reciprocal credits for foreign trade operations, including military and security goods.
  • Coordinate actions so that international and regional financial organizations do not grant loans to the Government of Venezuela, due to the unconstitutional nature of acquiring debt without the endorsement of its National Assembly, except when financing is intended for humanitarian assistance, and taking into account prior to its granting the possible unwanted effects in the economy of vulnerable third countries.
  • Intensify and expand the exchange of financial intelligence information, through existing mechanisms, on the activities of Venezuelan individuals and companies that could be linked to acts of corruption, money laundering or other illicit behaviours that could result in judicial proceedings that penalize said criminal activities, such as asset freezing and the application of financial restrictions.
  • In the framework of the international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force and the existing operational mechanisms, they are encouraged to ensure risk assessment of money laundering and terrorism financing and it is further suggested that countries inform the private sector within their jurisdictions of the threats and risks of money laundering and corruption that have been identified in Venezuela and that affect the region, which will enhance the ability to prevent or detect possible illicit acts.
  • Furthermore, the Financial Intelligence Units and relevant authorities of each country are urged to issue and update nationwide advisories, circulars, or bulletins to alert financial institutions to corruption in Venezuela´s public sector and to the methods that Venezuelan officials and their networks may be using to hide and transfer resources derived from acts of corruption.

8. The Group will continue to follow the evolution of the situation in Venezuela in order to adopt further appropriate measures, individually or collectively, to promote the reestablishment of the rule of law and the democratic order in that country.