Venezuela’s opposition leader Julio Borges travelled to Lima to meet with Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Thursday as part of an effort to shore up greater international support for his right-wing political agenda, as near-daily protest aimed at forcing out the goverment continue to hit Caracas for the sixth week in a row.
"The request I'm bringing to the Peruvian Congress and president is that they help us, together with other presidents who we've spoken with, to create a large group of presidents who are friends and proponents of democracy in Venezuela," Borges told Reuters.
Kuczynski has been one of the most vocal critics of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. At the XXV Iberoamericana Summit in October 2016, he told Venezuela's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez that her "government was unsustainable and that it had to step aside.”
Peru also recalled its ambassador to Caracas in late March.
Venezuela has witnessed growing violence in the past few weeks from anti-government protests, which have left at least 39 dead. The opposition has decried Maduro as an autocrat who has wrecked the nation's economy and demanded elections to resolve the political crisis, while the government has slammed the opposition for stalling dialogue aimed at smoothing over the crisis and instead endorsing violence in the streets.
Borges, the president of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, said he would seek support from other Latin American countries, such as Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil. Brazil and Argentina, previously allies of Venezuela under left-wing Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Cristina Fernandez, have shifted sharply to the right since 2015, becoming critics of Venezuela under Presidents Mauricio Macri and Michel Temer.
"It's important — fundamental — that we get several governments in the region to unite in the short term to make sure in Venezuela there exists nothing other than a popular and democratic agenda," Borges said upon exiting an interview with local radio station RPP.
"There's a new map in Latin America that I'm sure will strongly support this democratic agenda for Venezuela," he added.
Last week, Maduro announced he would call a National Constituent Assembly with the purpose of “transforming the state" and supporting dialogue with the opposition.
Seven opposition parties accepted to meet with the government to discuss the matter, while Borges called President Maduro's move a “coup d'etat.” Right-wing parties in the MUD coalition — the Democratic Unity Roundtable — are still refusing to sit with the government.
The same week, Borges met with U.S. President Donald Trump's national security advisor H.R. McMaster, where they agreed on the need to bring Venezuela's crisis to a quick and peaceful conclusion.
According to the latest poll by Monitor Pais, 59 percent of the Venezuelans surveyed said they “trusted the opposition less” and 65 percent "agreed" that presidential elections should be held in 2018, despite calls from the opposition to hold an early vote.