Brazil called on the international community Thursday to reject upcoming legislative elections in Venezuela, saying human-rights violations by President Nicolas Maduro’s “dictatorial regime” made the vote illegitimate.
The message came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began a South American tour that will take him to the Brazilian-Venezuelan border Friday for an event also seen as upping the pressure on Maduro.
Brazil’s foreign ministry quoted from a United Nations report published Wednesday that accused Maduro and top cabinet ministers of probable “crimes against humanity,” including arbitrary killings and systematic use of torture — claims the Venezuelan government rejected.
“Given the contents of this report, Brazil considers a regime such as Maduro’s lacks the legitimacy to convene a clean and fair electoral process, and that the legislative elections called by the dictatorship for December should not be supported by the international community,” the Brazilian foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Brazil hopes the report will mobilize the entire international community to work to extinguish Maduro’s dictatorial regime and free Venezuela.”
The December 6 elections are Maduro’s chance to regain control of the National Assembly from the opposition, which won a legislative majority in 2015.
The main opposition group has said it will boycott the vote, accusing Maduro of attempting to rig it.
Maduro, the political heir to late leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez, has been in power since 2013.
He has presided over a devastating political and economic crisis in the once-wealthy South American oil producer.
But he has so far survived attempts to oust him, including when National Assembly speaker Juan Guaido declared himself acting president in January 2019, claiming Maduro had stolen the 2018 election.
Guaido received the backing of more than 50 countries, led by the United States, but has not managed to force Maduro from power.
Pompeo’s Brazil stop will be in the border city of Boa Vista, the entry point for tens of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing their country’s economic collapse and hyperinflation that rose to more than 9,500 percent last year.
© Agence France-Presse