The countries of the Lima Group proclaimed Venezuela's opposition leader and its National Assembly as full members of the multi-nation group while ruling out military intervention to end the humanitarian crisis gripping the oil-rich nation.
The move elevates Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to the status of a "fully fledged" member of the group, said Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. The move further sidelines the authoritarian government of Nicolas Maduro, which has been declared illegitimate by Canada and many of its allies, according to CBC.
"It is very important to understand that Guaido derives his legitimacy from the National Assembly, which is the sole remaining democratically constituted body in Venezuela," Freeland said at the closing press conference of the Lima Group meeting.
Foreign ministers from the Lima Group countries — Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia, alongside representatives from the UK, the EU and the U.S. — met in Ottawa Monday to further solidify support for Guaido as protests over the legitimacy of Maduro's government continue to fill the streets in Venezuela.
The Lima group wrapped its meeting with a 17-point declaration that included a call for the "national armed forces of Venezuela to demonstrate their loyalty to the interim president in his constitutional functions as their commander in chief."
The Lima Group nations did not encourage any military action against the Maduro regime, however, saying that the countries making up the group "reiterate their support for a process of peaceful transition through political and diplomatic means without the use of force."