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Duque to the Lima Group: ‘Diplomatic Pressure Has Pushed the Dictatorship Out of Its Comfort Zone’

Duque to the Lima Group: ‘Diplomatic Pressure Has Pushed the Dictatorship Out of Its Comfort Zone’

By Karen Sánchez/Voice of America (VOA)/Edited by Diálogo Staff
September 23, 2020

On August 14, Colombian President Iván Duque said that “diplomatic pressure has pushed the dictatorship out of its comfort zone,” in reference to the illegitimate Nicolás Maduro dictatorship, during the XIX Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Lima Group.

The head of state, speaking from Bogotá, stated that this pressure should continue.

In addition, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press release that the United States joins democracies worldwide to reiterate its support for “the democratic forces of Venezuela” that advocate for the rights of the Venezuelan people.

The Lima Group reinforced the “Joint Declaration of Support for Democratic Change in Venezuela,” in which, according to the meeting’s final statement “31 countries, including members of the Lima Group, call upon all Venezuelans, of all ideological tendencies and party affiliations to put the interests of Venezuela above politics and engage urgently in support of a process shaped and driven by Venezuelans to establish an inclusive transitional government.”

The ministers also reiterated their support for Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó, and rejected “the actions of the illegitimate Nicolás Maduro regime that threaten the exercise of civil and political rights.”

They also condemned the violations of human rights perpetrated by “the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, documented in the latest update of the report presented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights this past July.” The ministers called on the U.N. Human Rights Council to renew the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Terrorism and narcotrafficking

During the presentation, Duque also referred to the extradition process of Alex Saab, accused of being a front man for Maduro: “We now see how international justice has realized that the U.S. extradition request for Alex Saab means also the collapse of a house of cards, in which the entire money laundering network serves the dictatorship,” the Colombian president added, as he reiterated that his country will continue cooperating to enable an “effective extradition” and reveal “the whole truth about the dictatorship’s illegal business.”

He reiterated that “in the eyes of the world, it is clear that the Nicolás Maduro dictatorship is coexisting with narcotrafficking and terrorism.”

In this regard, he said that the international arrest warrants against him and his close circle, as well as reports made by different organizations, “show it.”

Elections rejected

The Lima Group rejected the regime’s announcement that it will hold parliamentary elections on December 6, as they do not comply with “the minimum guarantees” and “the participation of all political forces,” according to the foreign ministers’ final declaration.

The Colombian president said that “the dictatorship expects […] to seize control of the National Assembly” with these elections.

“We cannot support, validate, applaud, nor recognize this process. We already know it is a fraudulent process, meant to continue to silence independent voices,” Duque said. “If we have not recognized the dictator’s government, much less can we recognize the electoral process by which the dictator wants to transform the assembly into a lackey of his interests.”