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Friday, February 16, 2018

Nicolás Maduro is not welcomed at the Summit of the Americas


Nicolás Maduro has been the President of Venezuela since assuming office in 2013 and previously served under President Hugo Chávez as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and as Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 to 2013. The Venezuelan politician has been under fire since Chavez’ death but refuses to leave power even if his country is deeply sunk in a crisis which does not seem to end.

Nicolás Maduro continues his triumphal walk towards the presidential election as if it were Attila's army, oblivious to the international isolation to which he is subjected in America and Europe and indifferent to the unpopularity that accompanies him in his country. According to to the latest Ivad survey published in El Mundo, 58.4% of Venezuelans considered his management as lousy and 16.6% as poor, for a total of 75% who disapprove his government. This figures would even be positive given the size of the greatest economic, political and social crisis Venezuela is in since it declared its independence two centuries ago.

The examples are counted every day: six children and one adult died in the last hours for eating bitter cassava, not suitable for human consumption, as confirmed by deputy Karin Salanova; 18 illegal miners were killed by bullets in a military assault and a major blackout affected Caracas and surrounding areas during the past dawn, making it difficult to use the Metro and basic services throughout the day.

The apparent control over the national situation contrasts with the growing external repudiation. The Venezuelan president will not be "welcomed" to the Summit of the Americas, which will be held in Peru in April, a decision taken by the government of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, protected by the declaration of the Lima Group.

The alliance of 14 countries (Colombia, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Saint Lucia and Guyana) insisted that the elections forced by the Chavismo movement "lack legitimacy and credibility ", as it is held with political prisoners, opposition leaders detained or "arbitrarily disabled", with the National Electoral Council "under the control of the government ", without the participation of millions of Venezuelans abroad "unable to vote "and convened by a Constituent that they do not recognize.

The continent recognizes in the final declaration of Lima its concern about the massive exodus of Venezuelans and "agree to coordinate efforts to confront this difficult situation in an orderly, supportive and safe manner". Colombia and Brazil have militarily fortified their borders, which has provoked the Venezuelan reaction, deploying troops to their limits and accusing the US of preparing the invasion and bombing of their country.

The Democratic Unity thanked the new international support, just when Julio Borges, former president of the Parliament and the main opposition negotiator in the unsuccessful dialogue in Santo Domingo, intends to start a tour next week in Latin America to press for electoral guarantees. A trip marked by uncertainty, which in principle has forced him to deny that he intends to seek asylum in another country. With all this going on, it is not to be expected that the approval of current Venezuelan President might raise in the region, not that he is losing sleep all over it.