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Mexico’s president calls for dialogue to resolve Venezuelan crisis

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks at a press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, Feb. 26, 2019. Obrador exhorted on Tuesday the dialog in Venezuela to achieve a 'peaceful solution' between the parties and defended the freedom of expression after the event occurred in the last hours with a Univision team. EPA-EFE/ Sashenka Gutierrez

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks at a press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, Feb. 26, 2019. Obrador exhorted on Tuesday the dialog in Venezuela to achieve a ‘peaceful solution’ between the parties and defended the freedom of expression after the event occurred in the last hours with a Univision team. EPA-EFE/ Sashenka Gutierrez

EFE

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday called for dialogue to find a “peaceful solution” to the crisis in Venezuela and defended freedom of speech after a crew from the Univision network was briefly detained in the South American country while interviewing the president.

“I respectfully call on the parties to the conflict to sit down, dialogue and seek a peaceful solution,” the founder and leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) said in a press conference at the National Palace.

If the parties request it, Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, offered to host talks in Mexico, allowing the two sides in the Venezuelan political crisis to find a solution, with the idea of having both Pope Francis and world-renowned diplomats as mediators.

“If the parties ask us, Mexico will always be willing to help in having a dialogue. To achieve peace in any nation, the doors of our country are open for dialogue,” the president said.

AMLO said that if the dialogue were to happen, diplomats with “world prestige” would be invited as “intermediaries,” along with the United Nations or Uruguay, a country with a similar neutral position like Mexico’s on the Venezuelan crisis.

“Even Pope Francis (could be a mediator), because he has already done so,” the president said, noting that the pontiff played a role in diplomatic matters involving Cuba and the peace process in Colombia.

Asked about US Vice President Mike Pence’s call for the Mexican government to take sides between Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido, and President Nicolas Maduro , Lopez Obrador limited himself to emphasizing the existing “respect” between the United States and Mexico.

“We have not had any kind of pressure,” the president said, adding that polarization, confrontation and manipulation should be avoided.

Dozens of countries, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain and the United States, have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president.

Lopez Obrador said his administration would defend freedom of speech and freedom of the press after renowned Mexican-American journalist Jorge Ramos and his Univision crew were detained by Maduro’s security forces during an interview at the Miraflores Palace.

“We are in favor of the freedom of speech and the respect that must exist for the free practice of journalism in Mexico and in the world. That’s what I can say,” the Mexican leader said.

Venezuela’s opposition does not recognize Maduro’s May 2018 re-election victory and his new six-year term in office that began on Jan. 10.

The political crisis heated up on Jan. 23 when Guaido, the National Assembly’s speaker, proclaimed himself the South American country’s legitimate leader.


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