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LATIN AMERICA | 24-01-2019 13:11

Uruguay diverges from Mercosur, aligns with Mexico on Venezuela crisis

Uruguay and Mexico call for peaceful resolution in a joint statement released Wednesday, after opposition leader Juan Guaido declares himself interim president.

Mexico and Uruguay have called on all those involved in Venezuela's ongoing crisis to urgently take de-escalation measures and pursue avenues for peaceful resolution, in the wake of the yesterday's dramatic developments in Caracas.

On Wednesday, the speaker of Venezuela's opposition-held National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, proclaimed himself the interim leader of his crisis-wracked country, in a direct challenge to President Nicolás Maduro.

The declaration, which was backed by the United States, Argentina, Canada, Chile and Peru and another six countries in the region but rejected by Russia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia, has triggered fears that Venezuela could descend quickly into violence. At least seven individuals have died in recent days as protests both in favour of and against the current government grow.

Laying out its position, Uruguay's Foreign Ministry released a statement Wednesday saying its government and Mexico's, led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, were proposing a "new process of inclusive and credible negotiations with full respect for the rule of law and human rights" to resolve the dispute peacefully.

Both nations urged other parties, both inside and outside of Venezuela, to follow suit.

In the statement, the countries “express their full support, commitment and willingness to work together in favor of stability, welfare and peace of the Venezuelan people.”

Uruguay’s position distances the nation from the rest of its Mercosur partners (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay), which all acknowledged Guiadó as interim president of Venezuela yesterday. Venezuela, once a full member of the Mercosur, has been suspended since December 1, 2016.

The Lima Group of regional nations also threw their support behind Guiadó on Wednesday. A declaration by the Lima Group, which has been vocal in denouncing Maduro, was signed by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and Peru.

Mexico was the only member to not sign.

-TIMES/AP

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