Venezuela's opposition is asking other Latin American countries to pressure President Nicolas Maduro's government into implementing a "democratic agenda," opposition leader Julio Borges said on Thursday.
Borges, the president of Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly, travelled to Lima to meet with Peruvian legislators and President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who has been one of Maduro's most vocal critics among Latin American leaders.
He said the humanitarian crisis and strong protests against Maduro's socialist government had crossed Venezuela's borders because of a wave of refugees across the region.
"It's important – fundamental – that we get several governments in the region to unite in the short term to make sure in Venezuela there exists nothing other than a popular and democratic agenda," Borges told Reuters.
Juan Carlos Lamas is following the story for TRT World from the Venezuelan capital Caracas. He says pensioners are now planning to join the protesters.
Venezuela has suffered through more than five weeks of violent anti-government protests in which 39 people have died. The opposition has decried Maduro as an autocrat who has wrecked the OPEC member's economy and demanded elections to resolve the political crisis.
Maduro has been defiant in the face of protests.
Appearing together with Borges in the Presidential Palace later on Thursday, Kuczynski said he had "no desire to interfere in the internal matters of other countries" but that countries in the region must support the well-being of Venezuela's people and provide "humanitarian assistance."
Borges said the aim of the strategy of street protests and calls for international pressure was to "break the conscience of the armed forces and the political groups" that still support Maduro, and to avoid more deaths.
He told Peruvian reporters after his speech to Peru's congress that he would travel to Brazil next week to convene a summit with congressional leaders from across the region to push for a "democratic transition" in Venezuela.
Socialist Venezuela has lost many regional allies as several Latin American countries have moved to the right in recent years.