Venezuelan diaspora worried by Mexico’s new policy on Maduro

The next president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The next president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. AP

Representatives of Venezuelans living abroad say they’re worried by an announcement that Mexico will promote “non-intervention” in Venezuelan affairs, saying the decision could weaken international efforts to help the South American country return to democracy.

“That worries us, and we’re working through spokespeople in Mexico to try to maintain the current line” of supporting opponents of the regime of President Nicolás Maduro, Luis Corona, president of the Miami-based Venamerica organization, told el Nuevo Herald.

The change in Mexico’s foreign policy was announced by Marcelo Ebrard, nominated by leftist Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to head the ministry of foreign affairs.

Ebrard said during an interview with Radio Fórmula, a Mexican talk-radio network, that Mexico will stick to a policy of “non-intervention” in foreign affairs.

On Venezuela,he added, “we will be respectful of non-intervention. That does not mean we are not concerned by the situation in other countries. We’ll see how we can … contribute in the best way.”

The government of outgoing President Enrique Peña Nieto has been active in the so-called Lima Group of largely Latin American countries seeking a solution to Venezuela’s political and humanitarian crises.

Member countries met in Mexico in May to analyze Maduro’s controversial re-election, and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray read a joint communique condemning Maduro’s “authoritarian regime.”

Venamerica praised that policy in a letter to Peña Nieto last week.

“Your firm policy in international organizations of supporting the concepts and practices of human rights and freedom, within the framework of the constitution, laws and international treaties, have been an example for what relations between people should be like,” wrote Venamerica.

Those relations, it added, should be above all “politics, ideologies and doctrines, and certainly the narrow and outdated interpretations of the concepts of sovereignty and self-determination, which more often hide indifference to violations of human rights and values.”

The letter also thanked Peña Nieto for welcoming Venezuelans who have emigrated to other countries because of the precarious conditions in their own country.

The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that 2 million Venezuelans have left their country, and that number is expected to rise to 3 million by the end of this year. Other organizations have put the estimate at 4 million.

The Mexican government received 4,042 asylum applications from Venezuelans in 2017, according to the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees.

Venamerica sent another letter to Lopez Obrador, who will be sworn in Dec. 1, urging him to study Venezuela’s crises in order to understand the damage.

“As Venezuelans, we have suffered for the past 20 years a progressive deterioration of our quality of life and now our country faces the worst humanitarian crisis in the history of the continent, forcing people to emigrate because of hunger, morbidity, unemployment, the bankruptcy of productive companies, insecurity and the massive violation of human rights,” it said.

Venamerica blamed the crisis on “an ideological delirium that calls itself socialism of the 21st century. … In Venezuela, institutions have been destroyed, the constitution has been violated and the … currency has disappeared.”

Follow Sonia Osorio on Twitter: @soniaosoriog