The Mexican government said Tuesday that its embassy in Venezuela has taken in opposition lawmaker Franco Manuel Casella to provide him "protection and safety," even as Mexico City insists it is not meddling in the Venezuelan crisis. "In line with its diplomatic tradition, the government of Mexico received National Assembly deputy Franco Manuel Casella today at its diplomatic residence in Caracas to provide him protection and safety," the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The foreign ministry added that Mexico "reiterates its commitment to respect, protect and promote the human rights of all people, regardless of their political affinity." The Mexican government reiterated the position of non-intervention in the Venezuelan conflict that the government of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has maintained since he took office on December 1.
"The government reaffirms its position of non-intervention, its openness to dialogue and its firm commitment to collaborate in finding a democratic, peaceful solution through dialogue," the statement read. Unlike other large Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, Mexico still recognises the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and not that of opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido.
Guaido has challenged Maduro's authority since January, considering his re-election as illegitimate. Last week, the Mexican government said it was concerned about the arrest of Venezuelan National Assembly deputy Edgar Zambrano for his involvement in a failed military uprising against Maduro last month.
The pro-government Constituent Assembly, a separate body that enjoys plenipotentiary powers, stripped five opposition lawmakers of their immunity earlier Tuesday for their participation in the uprising, bringing the total number to 14 so far. Three other lawmakers involved in the uprising have taken shelter at diplomatic offices and another has fled to Colombia.
(With inputs from agencies.)