Maduro to Attend Americas Summit as Region Protests Venezuela Blacklisting

Uruguay, Cuba, Bolivia, and Dominica have rejected Peru’s decision to exclude Venezuela’s Maduro from the Summit of the Americas.

By Lucas Koerner
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Venezuela says Peru's decision to ban Maduro from the Summit of the Americas is a violation of its obligations as summit host country. (Archive)
Venezuela says Peru's decision to ban Maduro from the Summit of the Americas is a violation of its obligations as summit host country. (Archive)

Caracas, February 19, 2018 ( –Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry sent a formal letter to its Peruvian counterpart Saturday confirming President Nicolas Maduro’s attendance at the upcoming Organization of American States’ (OAS) Summit of the Americas this April, despite being declared a persona non grata by Lima.

Referring to the agreement signed between Peru and the OAS on June 20, 2017, Caracas emphasized that Lima is not authorized to unilaterally exclude other states from participating in the region-wide conference, set to take place on April 13 and 14.

“Neither Peru, nor any other state, reserve the right to decide regarding the participation of another member-state and [OAS] founders in the meetings of the Americas Summit,” the open letter reads.

“The failure to uphold this commitment [to the June 20 agreement] on the basis of evident political/ideological motivations would constitute a serious affront on the part of the [Peruvian] government not only to the organization of the Americas Summit, but worse still, it would represent a low blow to multilateralism in our region,” the Foreign Ministry continued.

Speaking on Sunday, Peruvian Foreign Minister Cayetana Aljovín hinted that her government would take actions to prevent Maduro from entering the country.

“Every state has powers and administrative procedures to enact different types of measures when a person is not welcome,” she told La Republica newspaper.

Last week, Peru’s Kuczynski government revealed that the Venezuelan head of state would not be welcome at the summit on the grounds that Venezuela’s early presidential elections would deepen the country’s alleged “rupture of the constitutional democratic order”. Peru announced the decision on behalf of the so-called “Lima Group”, a bloc of fourteen conservative governments in the hemisphere opposed to the Maduro administration.

The ban on Maduro was immediately endorsed by the US State Department, which previously said it will not recognize the outcome of Venezuela’s April 22 elections, despite the date being agreed on as part of internationally mediated negotiations between the Venezuelan government and the opposition.

However, the move by Lima has provoked condemnation from a number of regional players.

On Friday, Uruguay criticized the exclusion of Venezuela, which it said wasn’t “helpful” in resolving the country’s current crisis.

“The bombardment of declarations, exclusions, and threats aren’t at all helpful… I don’t like exclusions,” Uruguayan Vice-minister for Foreign Affairs Ariel Bergamino said in an interview.

The diplomat additionally distanced his government from the Lima Group, which he said, “doesn’t have legal status nor an established institutional [framework].”

The disinviting of Maduro was also rejected by a number of close Venezuelan allies, including Bolivia, Cuba, and Dominica.

“We reject that a minoritarian group of countries led by the interventionist obsession of [US President Donald] Trump want to turn the Summit of the Americas into an instrument of regime change against Venezuela,” Bolivian President Evo Morales said in a tweet.

In a statement published in official newspaper Granma, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry likewise slammed the measure by Peru and the Lima Group as an “unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela”.

The Cuban government also took the opportunity to proclaim its “unwavering solidarity with Venezuela and with the civil-military union of its people headed by the constitutional President Nicolas Maduro”.

The Caribbean island nation of Dominica similarly denounced the exclusion of Venezuela, vowing to protest the move.

"The president of Peru has no authority to suspend the invitation to a member country; it only has the status of host country, but not authority,” Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in an interview with teleSUR English.

Held every three years since 1994, the Summit the Americas is attended by all 35 countries in the western hemisphere. All attendees are members of the Organization of American States, with the exception of Cuba, which made its first appearance in 2015.