Uruguay Changes Posture And Calls For Elections In Venezuela

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Uruguay officials have changed posture toward solving a crisis in Venezuela, and signed a declaration Thursday calling for Caracas to hold new elections as soon as possible.

The support for immediate elections "with full guarantees" was a surprise because Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin had earlier ruled out any conditioning to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to start dialogue, Uruguay's El Pais reported Friday

The International Contact Group said it will work with Venezuelan officials and other partners to "establish needed guarantees for a credible electoral process" and "allow urgent humanitarian aid."

The ICG said humanitarian aid needs to be coordinated with the special representative of the United Nations Refugee Agency, former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein.

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According to a copy of the document, the ICG includes the European Union and eight member states -- France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Britain -- as well as Latin American countries Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay.

The only country that "did not go along" with the declaration was Bolivia, reports said.

In Venezuela, National Assembly and opposition leader Juan Guaido said Friday the aid will be gathered at distribution centers in Colombia after it arrives.

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Guaido said the aid would be distributed even in the face of resistance by Maduro, who denies the existence of a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. He said there's a network of NGOs, health workers and other organizations in Venezuela that will channel aid to those who need it most.

Venezuela has been hit by hyperinflation, political violence and scarcity of food and medicine. In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his country wished for Venezuela to choose its own leaders without foreign intrusion. He also said humanitarian aid is better handled by the United Nations, as aid should not mix with politics.

Guaido has said it's urgent for Venezuela to receive the aid, as hundreds of thousands are endangered by the lack of food and medicine.

Lawmakers appointed Guaido interim president of Venezuela after Parliament determined Maduro's election victory last year was not legal. However, Maduro has the backing of the country's military for his second six-year term. He was sworn in January 10.

The United States, multiple European countries and Baltic states, as well as most Latin America nations, have chosen to recognize Guaido as Venezuelan leader. Russia, North Korea and Cuba instead recognize Maduro.

Source : https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/02/08/Uruguay-changes-posture-and-calls-for-elections-in-Venezuela/1221549641662/

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