Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro has said he will attend the Summit of the Americas “rain, hail, or shine” despite being disinvited from the event.
“They don’t want to see me in Lima [Peru’s capital], but they are going to see me because I will go to the Summit of Americas, rain, hail, or shine, by air, land or sea,” said Maduro at a press conference. “The indignity of the president and ministers who created this mess they call the Lima Group will be enshrined in history.”
Maduro’s comments come days after Peruvian foreign minister Cayetana Aljovín announced that he would “no longer be welcome” at the upcoming Lima Group summit due to Venezuela’s rapid descent into dictatorship.
“Any unconstitutional violation of the democratic order in a state is an insurmountable obstacle to the participation of the government of this state in the Summit of the Americas,” the letter reads.
During his press conference, Maduro also claimed that Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had revoked his decision to disinvite him.
“A letter arrived from Pedro Pablo Kuczynski inviting me to the Summit,” he claimed.
The rescinding of the invitation was primarily a response to Maduro’s recent announcement that he would hold a presidential election in April from which he has banned opposition parties from participating, including members of the big tent anti-Maduro coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).
Other parties have said they will not participate due to the likelihood of the election being rigged, which has happened over previous electoral cycles.
“What happens if the opposition doesn’t register? In Venezuela, there will be elections and there will be a legitimate president who is going to govern the country until 2025,” Maduro said. “It is not the first time we have had an opposition that tried to improvise and failed.”
The Maduro regime is now finding itself increasingly isolated within the international community. Most regional powers supporting economic sanctions imposed by the United States against the country’s crucial oil sector.
This month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson toured Latin America to discuss the Venezuela crisis, which as well as featuring increasing levels of political repression also features the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in the country’s history.
Thousands of Venezuelans are now fleeing the country every day, primarily into Colombia and Brazil. Both countries have confirmed they are now struggling with vast numbers of migrants in need of humanitarian assistance.