26, October 2017, Toronto, Canada - Solidarity groups protested last week's Toronto meeting of the so-called Lima Group – a coalition of twelve regional governments seeking to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to leave office.
Chanting "Hands Off Venezuela", activists peacefully interrupted one of the summit's Thursday panels featuring as a key note speaker former Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega, who is currently wanted in Venezuela to face charges related to corruption and extortion.
Titled "Resolving the Venezuelan Crisis", the event was hosted by the Canadian Council for the Americas, a group partly sponsored by major financial institutions like Scotiabank, along with leading mining companies including Goldcorp, Lundin Mining and Frontera Energy.
Earlier in the day, Hugo Chávez Foundation’s issued a statement asking Prime Minister Trudeau to let the Venezuelan people live in peace.
“As concerned Canadians, we call on the Trudeau Government to stop interfering in Venezuela's sovereign affairs. Chrystia Freeland, has stated that, 'Canada has taken a leadership role in addressing the crisis in Venezuela.' History has taught us that such actions are a pretext for foreign military intervention, regime change and looting of natural resources."
Canada's foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland, was scheduled to speak but her appearance was cancelled due to the solidarity action.
Freeland has indicated that Ottawa is currently mulling a second round of sanctions against Venezuelan government officials, urging other governments to "consider doing so as well".