(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
LIMA- Peru fears Venezuela may be headed toward civil war as a political crisis deepens and its economy implodes under the rule of socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Peru's foreign minister told Reuters on Wednesday.
Speaking a day after summoning his counterparts from across the region to Lima to condemn the "rupture of democratic order" in Venezuela, Ricardo Luna said Maduro's support at home and abroad had shrunk as he seeks to consolidate power through the constituent assembly, a powerful new body run by the ruling Socialist Party loyalists.
Peru has been one of Venezuela's harshest critics since centrist President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski took office a year ago, replacing a former ally of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
Luna called Maduro's accusation that Kuczynski is conspiring with U.S. President Donald Trump "absurd."
Peru's concern, he said, is the humanitarian crisis that has already sent waves of Venezuelan refugees to neighboring nations, including some 40,000 to Peru in the past six months.
"Our fear is that you really have a low-intensity civil war, which would produce a humanitarian crisis of great proportions," Luna said in an interview in his offices in Lima.
"It's not necessarily going to happen, and it's not easy to compare it to major crisis such as the one we have in Syria. But it is a large country. It's a complex situation. It's something that's been building in time," Luna said.