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Venezuela is no longer a democracy: LatAm bloc

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Lima: Seventeen American and Caribbean nations meeting here in Peru to discuss the situation in Venezuela has reaffirmed their joint opinion that the latter South American nation “is no longer a democracy”, a media report said.

The Latin American Foreign Ministers bloc on Tuesday also said the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly convened by President Nicolas Maduro and tasked with drafting a new Constitution was “illegitimate”.

The Lima Declaration released by the ministers upon conclusion of their day-long meeting, included recognition of the National Assembly or Venezuelan Parliament as the only legitimate elected body in the country.

They also condemned the violence and human rights violations being committed in that country, Efe news reported.

The declaration was presented by Peruvian Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna, who told reporters “what occurred in Venezuela” – the installation of the constitutional assembly – “is a decisive rupture” in the country’s political situation and “what we have now is that Venezuela is a dictatorship”.

Declaraing “full support and solidarity” with the “democratically elected” National Assembly, it stated that all judicial acts under the prevailing Constitution “require the authorization” of the same and will only be recognized when the Parliament “has approved them”.

In addition, Luna expressed the group’s “support for and solidarity with Attorney General Luis Ortega Diaz and the officials of the Venezuelan Public Ministry” who were fired by the Constituent Assembly.

It also demanded the “implementation of the precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”

The foreign ministers also requested the suspension of any arms transfers to Venezuela while the current situation continues there.

Venezuela has been beset by a wave of anti-government protests since April 1 that have left at least 121 people dead.

The situation became more acute with the installation of the Constituent Assembly last Friday, given that the body was not recognized by the Venezuelan opposition or by many governments and international organizations.

IANS

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