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Venezuela divide: Turkey, Russia, China stand against Washington, its Latin America allies

Venezuela divide: Turkey, Russia, China stand against Washington, its Latin America allies
As Venezuela is split among supporters of the president and the US-backed opposition, so is the world. Russia, China and NATO member Turkey are among the nations, which have rejected the attempted coup.

The confrontation between government and opposition forces in Venezuela escalated this week. On Wednesday, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president after calls for a regime change from Washington.

Both he and President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in for his second term earlier in January, have many supporters in the country, which is now apparently balancing on the brink of total chaos.

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Guaido was instantly recognized as the legitimate head of Venezuela by Washington and its allies in Latin America, like Brazil and Columbia. Canada reportedly intends to do the same. Mexico however still considers Maduro the leader of Venezuela.

On Thursday, countries elsewhere in the world started announcing their stance on the Venezuelan stand-off.

Russia supported Maduro as expected, saying it will continue working with his government. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned the US against trying to topple Maduro by force – a scenario that Washington has been reportedly deliberating for quite some time.

“We believe it would be disastrous and would damage the foundations of the model of development preferred in Latin America,” he said. “As you know, one of the slogans, the conceptual elements of self-identification of the many closely connected nations in Latin America is unity in diversity.”

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China voiced support for the Maduro government’s effort to overcome the instability in Venezuela. When asked whether Beijing still considered him the president of the country, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China was among the many nations and international organizations which sent its representatives to Maduro’s inauguration ceremony on January 10.

“I want to emphasize that outside sanctions or interference usually make the situation more complicated and are not helpful to resolving the actual problems,” she said.

Turkey criticized the US for its continued interference with Venezuela’s domestic affairs. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called Guaido’s self-appointment “very strange” while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced solidarity with Maduro, saying“Maduro brother, stand tall”.

Erdogan had its own experience with an attempted coup in 2016, which Ankara blames on a US-based self-exiled cleric, whom Washington refused to extradite to Turkey.

Iran is another nation, which sided with Maduro’s government and criticized Washington for its involvement there. Tehran supports Caracas and the people of Venezuela “in the face of any foreign intervention in the country’s internal affairs or any illegal or anti-popular actions, such as attempts to stage coups,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said in a statement.

But some nations in the eastern hemisphere are taking the side of the US over Venezuela. Georgia and Ukraine both declared they too were recognizing Guaido as the acting president and no longer considered Maduro the head of the country.

“Millions of Venezuelans said ‘No to Maduro, no to populism’,” declared Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, who himself became head of state after a US-backed armed coup in Kiev toppled the elected president of the country.

Leading EU nations, Germany and France, called on parties to the conflict to refrain from use of violence and said they are conducting consultations. France’s President Emmanuel Macron however voiced his support to the Venezuelan opposition on his Twitter account, indicating where Paris may stand on the situation.

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