• Michael Laxer

Argentina leaves the increasingly farcical Lima Group

While the Canadian government seems to remain committed to this imperial project, one can only hope its days are numbered.


It has been a bad few months for the western imperialist agenda in South America.


In October of 2020 the attempted coup in Bolivia was totally repudiated by the Bolivian people with the landslide election of Luis Arce to the presidency. Being the candidate of Evo Morales' Movement for Socialism (MAS) party this was a devastating and likely unexpected blow to the imperialist camp after the OAS and American initiated attempt to impose a far right government on the country.


Many of those involved in the coup and the massacres and violence that it resulted in are facing charges. This includes the former coup president Jeanine Áñez who is now in custody.


It is very rare that seemingly successful coups have been forced to hold elections and to capitulate in the face of popular power, but that is exactly what happened in Bolivia.


Now the total farce of the Lima Group -- which is a treasured pampered child of Canada's Trudeau government's imperialist foreign policy -- is increasingly on the ropes.


The Lima Group began with great fanfare in 2017 with the rather overt aim of overthrowing the socialist oriented government of Venezuela.


It attempted to deny that it was a tool of American foreign policy by technically not having the United States as a member (though the US attended the founding meeting). Instead it was comprised of fourteen countries including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras (itself a country whose government came about as a result of an imperialist coup) and others all under the tacit leadership of Canada and, at the time, its reactionary anti-socialist foreign minister Chrystia Freeland.


It also had the support of the Organization of American States (OAS) which played a key role in the Bolivian coup when it issued a now debunked report claiming there had been fraud in Bolivia's 2019 election.


The group embraced the attempt of Juan Guaido to proclaim himself president of Venezuela in 2019, an attempt that is now little more than a joke. Guaido's fake administration was even admitted into the Lima Group as a member.


It has also supported crippling and cruel economic sanctions against the country that were recently denounced by the United Nations.


In a February, 2021 report that has been greeted by a virtual mainstream media blackout in the west, Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights found that US and western sanctions against the country violated international law and the human rights of Venezuelans.


She stated that the sanctions have "a devastating effect on the whole population of Venezuela, especially those in extreme poverty, women, children, medical workers, people with disabilities or life-threatening or chronic diseases, and the indigenous population."


With the election of a centre-left president, Alberto Fernández, in 2019 the country has shifted away from the support of imperialist initiatives by his predecessor Mauricio Macri.


On March 24 Argentina formally announced that it was leaving the Lima Group citing both the participation of Guaido in it as well as the sanctions. In its official statement It noted that the:


Argentine Republic formalized its withdrawal from the so-called Lima Group, considering that the actions that the Group has been promoting at the international level, seeking to isolate the Government of Venezuela and its representatives, have led to nothing. On the other hand, the participation of a sector of the Venezuelan opposition has led to the adoption of positions that our government has not been able to and cannot support.

It reads further that:


In a context where the pandemic has reeked havoc in the region, the sanctions and blockades imposed on Venezuela and its authorities, as well as the destabilization attempts that occurred in 2020, have only aggravated the situation of its population and, in particular, that of its most vulnerable sectors. It is important to note that sanctions have affected the enjoyment of the human rights of the Venezuelan population, as noted in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

While the Canadian government seems to remain committed to this imperial project, one can only hope its days are numbered.