SANTIAGO – Foreign minister Roberto Ampuero participated via video conference in the International Contact Group’s (ICG) meeting in Costa Rica’s capital San José. The ICG, just as the Lima Group, seeks a solution to the Venezuelan crisis. During the Lima Group’s last meeting, Chile received a mandate to facilitate communications and possible cooperation between the two entities.
After the video conference, Roberto Ampuero said he sees common ground between the Lima Group and the ICG regarding human rights, the release of political prisoners, a peaceful solution, and the support for a democratic post-Maduro government. Ampuero also proposes to ramp up the pressure on Maduro and get the UN involved to distribute humanitarian aid, according to a foreign ministry press release.
From the archive:
International Contact Group
The ICG comprises countries such as Uruguay and Ecuador, but also Bolivia and Mexico, which are either hostile to or skeptical of Lima Group members, among which figure Chile, Colombia, and the US. The European Union is the ICG’s globally most influential member.
News agency EFE cited a press release in which Costa Rica’s foreign minister Manuel Ventura said that “for the government of Costa Rica, the meeting in San José represents a recognition of its leadership and the diplomatic efforts made in the search for a political solution to the crisis in Venezuela.”
In a press conference, the EU’s foreign affairs high representative, Federica Mogherini, provided more details. She highlighted for example that the ICG is the only player with “access to all relevant interlocutors both inside Venezuela, in the region and on the global scene.”
Mogherini added that the Maduro government shows no signs of allowing free and fair elections anytime soon, but insisted that Monday’s meeting has resulted in small steps toward a “political solution.” One such step relates to the ICG’s establishment of a permanent presence in Caracas to facilitate humanitarian measures. This is undoubtedly also due to accepting the risk of Bolivia reporting internal details to the Maduro government.
But when asked about Bolivia’s refusal to sign the ICG’s latest declaration, Mogherini replied “[s]ince the very first meeting we had in Montevideo, the Bolivian delegation expressed the will not so sign the final declaration without impeding the rest of the members of the Group to adopt it and without leaving the Group, but staying engaged in a way that the Bolivian delegation considers more productive for its own role inside the Group.”
Still, the crisis keeps consuming Venezuela and increasingly the region, and it remains yet unclear what Chile’s coordination between the ICG and the Lima Group can achieve.
Christian is Managing Editor at Chile Today, where he curates the foreign policy blog Teatinos One/Eighty. Christian is also Lead Editor of E-International Relations, co-editor of an open access textbook on International Relations Theory and Director at the Chilean Association of International Specialists (ACHEI).