Argentina will not recognise the result of next month's Venezuelan presidential election, President Mauricio Macri said Tuesday during a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Macri hosted Rajoy at the Casa Rosada and both questioned the upcoming vote, which is being boycotted by Venezuela's main opposition parties, after talks discussing the crisis in the South American nation.
"We are not going to validate the result of the election on May 20," said Macri. "It does not have any value, even if Mr [Nicolás] Maduro insults me, we will not recognise him as a democratic president because there has not been a democracy in Venezuela for some time."
Despite presiding over an economic collapse, President Maduro is seeking a second six-year term in elections which the opposition coalition claims are effectively rigged in advance.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Macri said the crisis would be "top of the agenda" at the Summit of the Americas, which begins on Friday in Lima. Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump announced he would skip the summit – the first sitting US president to do so.
Presidet Macri said countries agreeing that the elections have no validity will discuss at the summit what measures could be taken against Maduro's government.
Rajoy said that "unfortunately the problem [of Venezuela] is of such magnitude that it already affects the entire region and has overflowed all borders."
Oil-rich Venezuela's crushing economic and political crisis has caused widespread shortages of basic goods, in addition to hyperinflation which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects to run to 13,000 percent this year.
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country, mostly taking refuge in neighbouring Colombia.
The main opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable, known as the MUD, is boycotting the elections, saying they lack guarantees of a free and fair vote.
Maduro's main opponent is Henri Falcón, a former governor who is defying MUD's boycott.
Rajoy backs Macri
Rajoy showered Macri with praise during his visit to Buenos Aires, hailing the Cambiemos (Let's Change) leader's "brave" economic reforms and urging Iberian businessmen to invest in the nation and "seize the moment."
The words of the leaders were given in the framework of the Business Meeting "Spain-Argentina". Then, both heads of state held meetings with men and women of Iberian business, prior to the meeting held at Casa Rosada.
"The courageous reforms that the government has undertaken in a very short time have managed to reverse the negative trend of the economy," Rajoy told an audience of businessmen and entrepeneurs at a meeting prior to the visit to the Casa Rosada.
The Spanish prime minister said that "Argentina is a destination of great interest for Spanish companies."