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Caracas Slams La Paz's Lima Group Accession, Dubs Bolivia 'Fascist, Racist Dictatorship'

© AP Photo / Seth WenigVenezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza - Sputnik International
Much of Bolivia was plunged into protest following the 20 October election, after the opposition refused to accept a 4th victory by then-President Evo Morales, alleging voting irregularities, which were subsequently confirmed by the Organization of American States (OAS).

Several weeks later, after turmoil hit the Latin American nation, Bolivia announced its official entry into the Lima Group, designed earlier to find a way out of the long-term Venezuelan economic and cultural crisis. The administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro slammed the move as an incorporating "into their ranks a fascist, racist dictatorship, the product of a bloody coup d'état".

"Here you can see all the seams to the group (cartel) of Lima. The alleged and angry defenders of Democracies and human rights have savagely repressed their peoples and now incorporate into their ranks a fascist, racist dictatorship, the product of a bloody coup d'état", Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted.

​The Lima Group was founded by Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Santa Lucia, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala, with the support of the United States, the OAS and the European Union.

Maduro's administration has repeatedly accused the Lima Group of malicious activity, including drug trafficking and the cultivation of illegal armed gangs. Maduro has also claimed that Lima Group members seek to embezzle funds from Caracas, and are willfully undermining the beleaguered president. Arreaza has dubbed the group a "cartel".

The Bolivian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that La Paz seeks to assist in resolving the long-term crisis in Venezuela.

"The Bolivian Foreign Ministry announces Bolivia’s accession to the Lima Group. Thus Bolivia will contribute to finding a peaceful, democratic and constitutional way out of the crisis in Venezuela", the Bolivian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Bolivia has long refused to join the bloc, siding with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The change of heart came after Morales - a long-time supporter of Maduro - was ousted by the Bolivian military in November and replaced by a interim President Jeanine Anez - the nation's deputy speaker of the parliament's upper chamber. The Bolivian Constitutional Court recognized Anez's claim as legitimate, because other higher-ranking officials resigned immediately after Morales was forced out of office.

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales, who was granted asylum in Mexico, looks up toward a video playing on a screen during a press conference in Mexico City, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.  - Sputnik International
Argentina to Allow Bolivia’s Ex-President Morales to Make Political Statements – Official
The long-term Venezuelan crisis was heightened recently after US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself "interim president" in January. His bid was recognized by a majority of Latin American countries as well as many EU states. Anez earlier also recognized self-proclaimed interim president Guaido as the sole legitimate president of Venezuela.

Incumbent President Nicolas Maduro accused the administration of US President Donald Trump of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as its puppet and take over Venezuela’s vast petrochemical natural resources.

Russia, China, Turkey, and numerous other states have said they recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

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