The Argentine government of President Alberto Fernández Wednesday confirmed the country had decided to withdraw from the so-called Lima Group, a consortium formed with Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana, and Saint Lucia. Barbados, the United States, Grenada, and Jamaica to isolate the Venezuelan administration headed by Nicolás Maduro.
Argentina's move is to be viewed as a gesture of support for Maduro as well as a rejection to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Argentina had joined the Group in 2017 under then-President Mauricio Macri to seek a democratic solution to the social, political, and economic crisis in Venezuela.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a statement that ”the actions that the Group (of Lima) has been promoting at the international level, seeking to isolate the Government of Venezuela and its representatives, have led to nothing” and “... the participation of a sector of the Venezuelan opposition (in reference to Guaidó) as one more member of the Lima Group has led to the adoption of positions which our Government has not been able to and cannot accompany.
The statement went on: 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.
Because “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 Argentine government maintained. In this spirit, Argentina will continue to uphold 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 Lima Group was created in 2017, when opposition marches and repression intensified, leaving at least 127 dead. The situation worsened in 2019 after opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president with the support of some articles of the Venezuelan Constitution and the Lima Group called internationally for a democratic way out.”
The Lima Group has considered the elections held in May 2018, which gave the victory to President Nicolás Maduro for the 2019-2025 period, illegitimate, and applied political and economic sanctions to the Chavista regime, demanding Maduro to step down and cede power to the dissolved National Assembly. Maduro has so far repudiated the statements of the group which he considers to be led by the United States.
Hard-line Kirchnerists in Argentina celebrated the government's decision to leave a group they believe was a creation inspired by former President Macri, his then US colleague Donald Trump and the still presidents of Chile and Colombia, Sebastián Piñera and Iván Duque respectively.