Mexico City, Mexico, August 11, 2021 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Peruvian Foreign Minister Héctor Béjar expressed his country’s support for dialogue efforts between the Venezuelan government and the opposition.
The comments marked the latest move in Peru’s efforts to dramatically remake the country’s foreign policy after the inauguration of leftist Pedro Castillo as president on July 28.
Béjar, who hosted his Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza on July 30, said that the country would back “any action aimed at contributing to the necessary dialogue between the government of Venezuela and the opposition,” adding that he hoped the talks would lead to a lifting of sanctions that are punishing the Venezuelan people.
The statement comes days after the new executive announced the country’s exit from the Lima Group, an ad-hoc organization of right-wing governments formed in 2017 that sought to promote regime change in Venezuela.
“The Lima Group has been left without Lima. The Peruvian foreign ministry will never again be the table for parties of imperialism,” said Peruvian lawmaker Guillermo Bermejo Rojas, who represents President Castillo’s Peru Libre party in Congress.
The group, which lacks international standing, has been weakened in recent years as voters throughout the region replaced right-wing governments with progressive leaders that did not back interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.
The recently elected Saint Lucia Labour Party government led by Prime Minister Philip Pierre also announced that the Caribbean island would leave the Lima Group, joining Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru in the list of countries that have abandoned the body.
“We are going to get out of the Lima Group arrangement, that morally bankrupt, mongoose gang, we are going to get out of it because this group has imposed needless hardship on the children, men and women of Venezuela,” said Saint Lucian External Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste.
The exit of various countries from the Lima Group is a reflection of the changing political winds in the region that has seen right-wing leaders defeated at the polls. The government of Bolivian President Luis Arce, who took office after voters ousted the de-facto regime of Jeanine Áñez, also praised Peru’s decision to abandon the body.
“It has been proven that super-ideologized alliances do not prosper. We must promote our integration based on the interests of our peoples and respect for our differences. A united Latin America is not only possible, it is urgent,” wrote Bolivian Foreign Minister Rogelio Mayta on Twitter.
Canadian journalist and author Arnold August, told Venezuelanalysis that the exits of Peru and Saint Lucia showed that “the Lima group is on its deathbed” but warned that this would not mean the end of the efforts to topple the Maduro government in Venezuela.
“Imperialism will not in the least bit be embarrassed to recruit countries in Europe to continue to lead (along with the US and Canada) the regime-change efforts,” said August, adding that Washington and allies might “double their efforts” as the region swings to the left.
For its part, the Biden administration in the US reaffirmed its position concerning Venezuela, with National Security Advisor Juan González saying the US would continue to apply “pressure” on Caracas to hold “free and fair” elections.
Talks between the Venezuelan government and the opposition are due to begin in Mexico and will be mediated by Norway. Crucially, elements of the radical right-wing of the opposition will also be represented in the dialogue. On Wednesday, high ranking opposition leader and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles confirmed that his First Justice Party would attend the talks that will kick off on August 13.
In the years since the founding of the Lima Group, the Maduro government has resisted several coup efforts spearheaded by self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó and grown increasingly stronger vis-a-vis the opposition, despite the impact of illegal US sanctions on the country
Edited by Ricardo Vaz from Mérida.