- Title: Peru FM touts "civil war" fears for Venezuela
- Date: 10th August 2017
- Summary: LIMA, PERU (AUGUST 9, 2017) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF FOREIGN MINISTRY HEADQUARTERS PERU FOREIGN MINISTER RICARDO LUNA SITTING DOWN FOR REUTERS INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (English) PERU FOREIGN MINISTER, RICARDO LUNA, SAYING: "Beyond condemning the violation of human rights, asking for a turning back, undoing of the Constituent Assembly, we in fact have created a kind of buttress of isolation for the Maduro [Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro] regime." LUNA LISTENING TO JOURNALIST'S QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) PERU FOREIGN MINISTER, RICARDO LUNA, SAYING: "We would like to try to put as much, make clear that there is much concern in the region, in the countries that are part of the Lima group, as there are in the European Union. It's a signal which will make it easier for the European Union or the United States to take the decisions that they can do bilaterally." (SOUNDBITE) (English) PERU FOREIGN MINISTER, RICARDO LUNA, SAYING: "Our fear is that you really have a low intensity civil war which would produce a humanitarian crisis of great proportions. This is not necessarily going to happen, and it's not easy to compare it to major crisis such as the one we have in Syria, but it is a large country, it's a complex situation, it's something that's been building in time." (SOUNDBITE) (English) PERU FOREIGN MINISTER, RICARDO LUNA, SAYING: "However well framed a strategy to preserve the regime, whatever pressure exists within Venezuela, is irrelevant really if the social conditions are untenable, and I think that's where we are. As I say it could last a few weeks, or a few months, but it is an economic crisis." JOURNALIST ASKING LUNA A QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PERU FOREIGN MINISTER, RICARDO LUNA, SAYING: "I don't know if the pivotal point of the crisis is closer than ever. I think that what is clear in the internal and external strategic calculations of the Maduro regime is that in fact there is a de facto situation of isolation without precedent." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PERU FOREIGN MINISTER, RICARDO LUNA, SAYING: "As a consequence of the humanitarian crisis, countries have had more incidents and greater difficulties. As I have said, there are long and complex borders with Venezuela in Colombia and Brazil. Colombia and Brazil, Peru and Chile also have been in contact with the UN's (Secretary General Antonio) Guterres who had a lot of experience in this area before he took on the role of the UN Secretary General." LUNA THANKING JOURNALISTS AT END OF INTERVIEW
- Embargoed: 24th August 2017 02:12
- Keywords: democracy President Nicolas Maduro Lima Latin America Peru Venezuela civil war Peruvian Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna European Union United States
- Location: LIMA, PERU
- City: LIMA, PERU
- Country: Peru
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016TKOKZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Peru's Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna told Reuters on Wednesday (August 9) that the international community is increasingly isolating President Nicolas Maduro amidst fears that a civil war could emerge in the OPEC nation.
Earlier this week, Lima called the government of Venezuela a "dictatorship" after hosting the first meeting of a new, 17-member regional bloc that aims to seek a peaceful end to the country's deepening political crisis. In a joint declaration released after a meeting in Lima, countries including Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Colombia collectively condemned the "breakdown of democratic order" in Venezuela and said they would not recognise any action taken by its "illegitimate" new constituent assembly.
The European Union and the U.S. have also joined Latin American nations in condemning President Nicolas Maduro. Brussels has condemned a new constituent assembly in Venezuela with powers to change the constitution and Washington has slapped targeted sanctions on individuals close to Maduro. But amidst an increasing death toll in protests against the government and allegations of political prisoners, Peru's Foreign Minister fears growing acrimonious relations between Maduro's supporters and the country's opposition could see the situation descend into a civil war.
Latin American nations have called for early elections to resolve political deadlock in Venezuela, as well as humanitarian shipments of food and medicine to make up for shortages in the oil-rich nation. Neighbouring countries fear an evolving humanitarian situation amongst 30 million citizens could spark wider regional crisis.
Maduro has vehemently defended his socialist government against criticism, accusing his critics of imperialism and of stoking a US-backed coup in Caracas.
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