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Human-rights groups at odds over who is Venezuela’s legitimate leader

 

OTTAWA — Two of the world’s leading human-rights organizations have sharp differences over the decision by Canada and dozens of other democratic countries to support Venezuela’s opposition as the country’s legitimate government.

The gulf between Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch became evident in interviews this week as the international calls intensified for Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolas Maduro to step down.

Canada, its Western Hemisphere allies in the Lima Group, the United States, and many across Europe are among the more than three dozen countries demanding Maduro’s ouster.

They recognize opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president and are calling for new elections after what they say was a fraudulent win by Maduro in May 2018.

Alex Neve, Amnesty’s Canadian secretary-general, says it doesn’t support the stance taken by Canada and the Lima Group, and that a strictly neutral political position that upholds the status quo is the best way to protect the human rights of Venezuelans.

Tamara Taraciuk, the senior Americas researcher for Human Rights Watch, says the organization fully supports the Lima Group because getting rid of the Maduro government is the best way to end the abuse of Venezuelans’ human rights.

The Canadian Press

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