Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called on Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday to “step aside now” after self-proclaimed leader Juan Guaido said troops had joined his campaign to oust Maduro.
“Venezuelans are in the streets today demonstrating their desire for a return to democracy even in the face of a violent crackdown,” Freeland told a press conference.
“Canada commends their courage and we call on the Maduro regime to step aside now and allow for a peaceful end to this crisis in line with the Venezuelan Constitution,” she said.
“It is time for Venezuela in line with its own laws to return to democracy.”
She said an emergency conference call would be convened later in the day to discuss the situation with the foreign ministers of 13 Latin American nations that — with Canada — form the Lima Group.
Freeland also planned to speak with Julio Borges, who represents Guaido at the Lima Group and is currently in Canada.
The Lima Group was created in 2017 to try to find a solution to Venezuela’s economic meltdown.
Most Lima Group members have refused to recognize Maduro’s second term, which began on January 10, due to alleged fraud during his re-election last year.
Guaido, the National Assembly speaker, launched a challenge to Maduro’s authority and has been backed by more than 50 countries, led by the United States, that recognize him as Venezuela’s interim president.