Venezuela Describes a “Triumph of Peace” After the Retraction of 10 of the 12 Countries of the Lima Group

January 12, 2019

On Saturday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza described the retraction of ten of the twelve countries that signed the reactionary declaration of the Lima Group against Venezuela  as a “triumph of Peace”, resorting to the call by Nicolás Maduro, with respect to modifying their position with respect to point 9 of the document published last January 4.  Point 9 questioned the territorial integrity of Venezuela, regarding the case of U.S. oil tankers with Guyana’s guarantee in Venezuelan waters. Thirteen of the 14 members of the Lima Group signed a declaration expressing “concern” over Venezuela intercepting two Exxon Mobile ships “within Guayana’s exclusive economic zone.”

The Venezuelan government issued 12 notes of protest over the declaration providing proof that the ships were in Venezuelan territory and that Venezuelan authorities had not boarded the ships as the government of Guyana claimed.

On Wednesday, January 9, after showing evidence that the Exxon Mobile ships, sent by Guyana, were effectively in Venezuelan territory, President Nicolas Maduro issued a 48-hour deadline for the countries signing this document to retract the point that violated the nation’s territorial boundaries in favor of Guyana, with whom the dispute over Esequibo territory is maintained.

Nicolás Maduro extended the deadline until Monday for the rectification of Canada and Paraguay, which still have not modified their position on the territorial jurisdiction of Venezuela.

“So far we can say that of the twelve countries that dared to sign this document, ten countries have retracted,” Arreaza said, referring to the governments of Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Brazil, Peru, Saint Lucia, Honduras and Colombia.

Paraguay and Canada have yet to do so, so the Venezuelan government extended the possibility to do so until Monday.

“To err is human and to rectify is wise” said the foreign minister, who, in a press conference, read part of each one of the communiqués and notes sent by the countries that reversed their initial position.

“For more differences, for more political attacks against Venezuela and its Government, (the nations that retracted) have been able to ponder the differences and have have arrived at a position that diplomacy and respect for international law prevails and that we do not put at risk the security of our region”.

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister described paragraph nine as “infamous, rude and in violation of international law. The 48-hour deadline demanded by President Maduro to modify their position on that point of the document was met by most of the signatories.

In addition, Jorge Arreza reiterated Nicolás Maduro’s proposal to hold a CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) summit to discuss Venezuela. “There President Maduro would go with the truth of Venezuela, to respond with  the legitimacy given him by the Venezuelan people.

The Venezuelan politician also asked for support from Latin American governments to facilitate a dialogue, with understanding and peace, about all the interfering statements and interference in the internal affairs of the countries.

The Lima Group, with the exception of Mexico, issued a declaration disavowing the Venezuelan government and calling for new elections.

Source: Telesur, translated by Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau