February 26, 2019 / 2:26 PM / a year ago

Mexico president declines to take sides in Venezuela crisis

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s president on Tuesday said he would not take sides on the crisis in Venezuela, a day after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence urged Mexico to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful president.

A political and economic crisis in Venezuela reached a new pitch last month when Guaido, president of the country’s National Assembly, declared himself interim president in opposition to the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

“I don’t want to get involved in this, it’s quite clear,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters at his regular morning news conference. “Mexico will respect the decision taken by other people, by other governments.”

Guaido has been backed by the United States and several European powers, but the leftist Lopez Obrador has repeatedly refused to add Mexico’s name to the list of his supporters.

Asked if he would back Guaido after Pence’s remarks on Monday, Lopez Obrador urged all sides in Venezuela to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis and said the United Nations should help resolve a dispute over humanitarian aid.

“We don’t want to take sides,” he said later.

Lopez Obrador was also asked to comment on the brief detention in Venezuela’s presidential palace of Mexican-born Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and his team on Monday.

“I voice my solidarity with him from here. What I don’t want to do is get involved in a matter which is highly polarized,” he said, adding that he supported the Mexican foreign ministry’s protest about the incident in the Miraflores palace.

Reporting by Dave Graham and Sharay Angulo; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio

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