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Lima Group Can't Decide on Use of Force - Ex-OAS Secretary General

© AP Photo / Fernando VergaraVenezuelans ride atop and alongside semi-trailers accompanying U.S. humanitarian aid destined for Venezuela, in Cucuta, Colombia, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019
Venezuelans ride atop and alongside semi-trailers accompanying U.S. humanitarian aid destined for Venezuela, in Cucuta, Colombia, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 - Sputnik International
Former Organisation of American States (OAS) Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, in an interview with Sputnik, questioned the alleged legitimacy of the Lima Group, noting that Chilean President Sebastián Piñera commits actions that “violate” the traditions of Chilean foreign policy.

The official surmised that although military action against Venezuela had been effectively ruled out, the situation remains extremely volatile.

"Anyone can bring together a group of countries and name it. The difference is that the Lima Group is a voluntary grouping of countries that lack legal statutes. That is why it cannot decide on the use of force", the former OAS Secretary General, Chilean Senator José Miguel Insulza said when questioning the legitimacy of the group of American countries that recognise opposition leader Juan Guaidó as "president of Venezuela".

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José Miguel Insulza, who was Chile's Foreign Minister from 1994 to 1999, also questioned Chilean President Sebastián Piñera's presence on the Colombian-Venezuelan border on 23 February, where he was unsuccessful in trying to deliver supposedly humanitarian aid into Venezuela.

"Chile is not one of the largest countries in South America. We do not have the opportunity to act independently. Our strength is our respect for international law. This violates the foreign policy tradition of Chile. The president should not have participated by taking an uncoordinated decision. Piñera makes his decisions exclusively on a personal basis, but countries such as ours should be consistent," he said.

View of the commercial district of San Isidro, in Lima - Sputnik International
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In his opinion, Guaidó has the right to want to rule his country, but he can hardly be considered the president "when he does not control the police, finances, public order or the judicial system of Venezuela". "This is something new because the Congress, no matter how legitimate it is, cannot overthrow the de facto president," he added.

Finally, the socialist senator criticized the political use of humanitarian aid in the midst of the serious crisis which Venezuelans have found themselves in.

"According to the Red Cross and the UN, humanitarian aid should be neutral and not be mixed with political issues. Most of the activities that took place alongside the attempt to assist were related to political issues. It was evident that no help would come. The Venezuelan military would not allow this in their own country. It was a very dangerous political operation because it could serve as a pretext for military intervention," he said. "Not a single country in Latin America is ready to take such actions," Insulza concluded.

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