Latin American countries vowed to tackle corruption in a statement released at the Summit of the Americas. Regional leaders also warned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro that his snap election would lack credibility.
At least 16 Latin American countries, as well as the United States, warned Venezuela on Saturday that its presidential election next month would be seen as illegitimate by the region unless it restored democratic standards before the poll.
A joint declaration put out at the Summit of the Americas in Peru said the May 20 election would be "void of legitimacy and credibility" if it went ahead under current conditions.
The joint statement was signed by the 16-nation Lima Group, which includes Latin America's biggest economies of Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. The United States also signed the declaration.
The opposition in Venezuela said that President Nicolas Maduro has prepared a rigged snap election to deliver him a new mandate and tighten his hold over his economically devastated country.
US Vice President Mike Pence, who attended for US President Donald Trump, said the election would be a "sham."
"The United States is prepared to continue to bring all pressure to bear, working with our allies," to restore democracy in Venezuela, he told reporters.
Corruption in the Americas
The theme of this year's summit was battling corruption, and the gathering released a document called the "Lima Commitment: Democratic Governance Against Corruption."
The statement includes 57 action points that Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said would constitute a base for preventing corruption. Analysts, however, were skeptical that it will lead to any tangible change.
"The hard part will come when leaders return home," said Shannon O'Neil, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "These initiatives will take much time and effort to implement, and will in many places face significant pushback."
Many of the heads of state in attendance lead administrations that face allegations of misusing public funds, obstructing justice and accepting bribes.
av/sms (AP, AFP)