There is no end in sight to Venezuela’s humanitarian or political emergencies. One of the top Latin American diplomats trying to solve the crises is in Miami this week - and he sees no easy solutions on the horizon.
Miami is home to the U.S.’s largest Venezuelan community, which opposes Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime. During his visit here, Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero called Maduro’s controversial re-election this year “invalid.”
The Lima Group of 14 western hemisphere countries agrees. The Group was created last year to get Maduro’s authoritarian government to restore democracy. But Maduro is set to be sworn in next month - and Ampuero told WLRN that Chile and the rest of the Lima Group are figuring out how to respond.
“The Group of Lima is working very close together, exchanging views," said Ampuero. "And we have to define the next steps.”
Ampuero said the Group is also trying to help alleviate the suffering of Venezuelans - millions of whom are now refugees in South America because of their country’s catastrophic economic collapse.
“One thing is very clear," Ampuero said. "In the case of Chile, we think Venezuela is facing a tragedy in every sense. Venezuelans are not able to express themselves politically; they have not the opportunity to choose their authorities. The international community shares these views.”
Because of its leading role in the Lima Group, Maduro accused Chile of taking part in a recent attempt to assassinate him. Ampuero - a former detective novelist who became Chile's foreign minister earlier this year as part of new President Sebastián Piñera's cabinet - calls Maduro’s claim “extremely irresponsible.”
On Tuesday, Ampuero was at the Light Box in Wynwood to open the ProChile Innovation Summit, a tech and investment gathering designed to highlight what Chile - one of Latin America's most developed economies - has to offer beyond wine, copper and commodities.