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4 Feb, 2019 09:19

Chorus of EU states, incl UK, Spain, Austria recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader

Chorus of EU states, incl UK, Spain, Austria recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader

The UK, France, and Spain among a number of countries, have announced their recognition of Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president after Caracas did not cave into an ultimatum calling for snap elections with eight days.

“Nicolas Maduro has not called Presidential elections within 8 day limit we have set. So UK alongside European allies now recognises @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held,” UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote in a tweet on Monday.

Germany, France, and Spain issued nearly identical warnings in late January, stating that they would recognize Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela unless new elections were held. The date for this to happen expired overnight, from February 3 to February 4.

In a tweet announcing Austria’s support for Guaido, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz claimed that President Nicolas Maduro has “so far refused to accept a free and fair presidential election” – leading Vienna to accept Guaido as Venezuela’s “lawful” leader. Sweden has done the same, with Europe’s ‘power house’ Germany, as well as Denmark, the Netherlands and Latvia following suit.

Firing back, Maduro described the demand put forward by the European states as “the stuff of the empire, of colonial times.”

Efforts to provide Guaido with an official EU endorsement have apparently fallen flat, however. A source inside Italy’s Five Star Movement told RT that Rome shot down an EU statement meant to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

While Europe alleges that Maduro has stonewalled democratic elections, critics of the West’s enthusiasm for ‘regime change’ in Venezuela have pointed out that foreign states should have offered talks rather than meddling in the country.

On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that “there is a spark that can turn into a fire at any moment” in Venezuela. The political crisis, Cavusoglu insisted, could only be resolved “through dialogue.”

Without getting into specifics, the Turkish diplomat said that the crisis had been “fueled from the outside” – an act of foreign meddling that has “punished” the Venezuelan people.

Last week, the US anointed Guaido as the legitimate head of Venezuela after the opposition leader proclaimed himself the new leader of Venezuela. Russia, Mexico and Turkey – among other nations – denounced the move, pledging support to the “legitimate” leader Maduro and calling for dialogue to resolve the tense political standoff.

That aside, after backing what officials in Caracas labelled “a coup,” Washington announced that it would deliver “humanitarian aid” to Venezuela. Notably, it was the US that earlier imposed crippling sanctions on the Latin American state. The “aid” delivery plans caused a furious response from the Maduro government.

Those who “wage unjust wars… devastate innocent… populations, subject economies to a blockade, cause death, hunger, destruction and suffering” dare to declare their actions “humanitarian,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza wrote on Twitter.

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