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Lima Group countries criticize Venezuela election date

From Reuters - February 13, 2018

LIMA (Reuters) - The Lima Group of Latin American nations plus Canada on Tuesday criticized the Venezuelan governments decision to hold a presidential election on April 22 without reaching an agreement with an opposition coalition.

Venezuelas socialist government set the date on Feb. 7, setting the stage for the likely re-election of President Nicolas Maduro despite his widespread unpopularity and a crushing economic crisis.

In a statement, the 14 countries said the election would not be free and fair as long as Venezuela has political prisoners, the opposition was not fully participating and Venezuelans abroad were not allowed to vote. They urged the government to present a new electoral calendar.

The statement stopped short of saying the group would not recognize the results of the election, though several members, including Venezuelas neighbor Colombia, have already done so.

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