Argentina Withdraws From Anti-Venezuela Legal Case at ICC

In yet another blow to the so-called ‘Lima Group’, the government of Argentina announced on Thursday, its withdrawal from a politically-motivated legal case against Venezuela at the International Criminal Court (ICC), presented by the now defunct group during the neoliberal Mauricio Macri government.

An official letter sent from the Argentine embassy in the Netherlands to the ICC headquarters at the Hague, stated, “The Government of the Republic of Argentina withdraws from said referral as well as from any presentation made in that framework, including Note OI 48/2019 of September 30, 2019 linked to a report prepared by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina. ” 

The former right-wing government of Mauricio Macri was a signatory to a legal complaint about supposed ‘crimes’ of Venezuela’s government. The political case was presented alongside the governments of Canada, Chile, Peru and Colombia. 

The case was launched as a coordinated action by the coup-supporting ‘Lima Group’ which is barely operational today, following the withdrawal of Argentina and Bolivia. Meanwhile, the majority of member states such as Colombia, Peru and Chile face deep internal crises and serious human rights abuses have been committed by these governments in response to domestic protests in the past year. 

At the same time, many governments have quieted their support for Juan Guaido since the National Assembly took power in January, following Venezuela’s December parliamentary elections which were boycotted by Guaido allies.

Argentina’s withdrawal is a sign of the country’s increasingly independent foreign policy under President Alberto Fernandez. Benjamin Gedan, Deputy Director of the Wilson Center’s Latin America program, an interventionist U.S. think-tank, responded to the news with concern, saying, “As we have signaled, Venezuela is a potential obstacle to close U.S.-Argentina relations, as is the PLA’s presence in Neuquén and Argentina’s expected participation in China’s Belt & Road Initiative.”

The right-wing think tank cites numerous other factors as evidence of the country’s turn away from the U.S. fold, including the presence of Cristina Kirchner in government, Argentina’s current interest in Huawei’s 5G technology, and the reduction in ‘security cooperation’ with the U.S. 

The Fernandez government also provided asylum to many of the persecuted refugees of the coup regime in Bolivia, including former President Evo Morales.