Mexico renews call for dialogue in Venezuela


Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated on Friday that the only path to a solution of the crisis in Venezuela is dialogue between the government and opposition.

“There is polarization on this issue and there are many arguments. And what we want is dialogue. (This was) the approach in Uruguay,” he said during his daily morning press conference a day after representatives of Mexico and more than a dozen other nations met in Montevideo to discuss the situation in Venezuela.

Though Mexico took part in the gathering, the Aztec nation declined to join the International Contact Group on Venezuela, made up of a dozen European and Latin American nations, which resolved to send envoys to Caracas in pursuit of creating conditions for a new presidential election in the oil-rich country.

Years of political turmoil in Venezuela entered into an acute phase on Jan. 23, when Juan Guaido, the speaker of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, proclaimed himself acting head of state, denouncing incumbent President Nicolas Maduro as illegitimate.

The United States quickly recognized Guaido and a score of Latin American and European countries have followed suit.

Lopez Obrador, as he has done throughout the current crisis, again cited the Mexican constitution’s prohibition on interference in the domestic affairs of other countries.

And while he welcomed the idea of sending humanitarian aid to Venezuela, he said that such efforts must be kept separate from “political issues.”

An initial shipment of US aid intended for Venezuela arrived Thursday in the Colombian border city of Cucuta.

On Wednesday, the Venezuelan military erected metal fences across the middle of the Tienditas international bridge, the most important of the three spans linking Cucuta to Venezuela.

The Maduro government, which denounces Guaido’s claim to the presidency as an attempted coup engineered by Washington, says it will not allow the shipment to enter Venezuela. US and Colombian officials have not disclosed how they plan to get the aid into the neighboring country.

“We want peace,” Lopez Obrador said Friday, referring again to the principles set out in Mexico’s constitution: non-intervention, self-determination of peoples, peaceful settlement of disputes and respect for human rights.

“It’s a set of principles that forces us to act this way in the case of Venezuela. And we would do the same in any other case,” he said.

He also pointed out that Venezuela is not the only foreign policy issue facing Mexico.

“For example, to maintain a relationship of mutual respect with the United States and address the migration phenomenon, seeking a fair and appropriate way out for the two nations and the governments of Central America,” the president said.