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South American leaders likely to back Venezuela's Maduro in emergency meeting

Despite complaints from some Venezuelans that Sunday's election had irregularities, analysts say leaders in the region will likely support Mr. Maduro’s election in order to maintain stability.

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“It’s very difficult for [other states] to question the legitimacy” of a country’s own electoral authority, Bonilla says. And even if they did, it would be difficult for a recount to reverse a difference of almost 300,000 votes, he says.

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Venezuela’s more conservative neighbors including Chile and Colombia are taking a “pragmatic” approach, says James Bosworth, an independent analyst who writes about Latin American diplomacy and defense. Colombia, which has often clashed with Venezuela’s socialist government, has “concrete objectives, and they don’t gain from a dispute over idealistic democratic principles,” Mr. Bosworth says. (Editor's note: Bosworth's writing is frequently posted on The Christian Science Monitor's Latin America Monitor blog).

Chile and Colombia are most concerned about commercial relations and stability, he says. Realistically, they aren’t likely to change the presidency in Venezuela, and they will instead focus on maintaining good relations with the Bolivarian Republic.

The US is in a similar situation. Despite a petition at Whitehouse.gov calling for “the international community to interfere immediately” in Venezuela, the US wants to avoid a “pissing match” with its fourth-biggest oil supplier, Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, told Bloomberg News yesterday.

The quickly convened meeting tonight in Lima doesn’t have a specific agenda, according to two people helping plan the event’s logistics who asked not to be named because they aren't authorized to speak to the press.

The goal will be to write a declaration on the crisis in Venezuela, one of the sources says. Venezuelans who are questioning the results of the election won’t be represented at the meeting, the person says. Maduro himself will attend, he said today on state television. Presidents from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru will take part, according to Peruvian state newswire Andina.

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