Friday, 26 April, 2019

Italy blocks European Union statement on recognizing Venezuela's Guaido, sources say

European nations recognise Guaido as Venezuela's acting president European countries have urged Juan Guaido to hold new elections quickly
Leonard Rios | 05 February, 2019, 04:54

Spain, Germany, France and Britain delivered diplomatic blows to Maduro's rule by publicly supporting Guaido after giving Maduro a Sunday deadline to call a presidential election, which he didn't heed.

At present the United States has mobilised food supplies, while Germany has earmarked 5 million euros ($7.9 million) in aid and Spain has announced a humanitarian plan with the European Union and UN.

France, Germany, Britain, Portugal, Austria, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg also recognized Guaido.

The embattled Maduro, whose years in power have seen Venezuela sink into an economic crisis that the United Nations estimates has led as many as three million Venezuelans to flee the country and brought on widespread food shortages, has refused to step down despite accusations that his country's most recent election was rigged.

Maduro accused Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, of having taken "a awful decision" in recognising Guaido.

Currently, the country is facing a severe economic and humanitarian crisis that will continue to spill over to neighbouring countries.

In a video statement posted on Twitter, Sanchez recognised Guaido as interim leader and called for new elections "as soon as possible".

Trudeau also urged the global community to help Guaido restore democracy and help the economy in Venezuela. "We aren't going to hand Venezuela over", said the Venezuelan president.

National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Mike Palecek said the protesters wanted to send a message that Canada should not interfere in a foreign democracy. Emmanuel Macron then repeated this later on Monday.

Two opposition rivals with a good chance of winning were barred from standing, while food handouts and other subsidies to hungry Venezuelans were linked with political support.

Russia, one of the main allies of Maduro's regime, slammed what it dubbed European "interference" in the oil-rich but impoverished Latin American country, saying it was an attempt "to legitimize usurped power".

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Kingdom was looking at options to help expedite peace and democracy in Venezuela, including the use of sanctions.

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"We are working for the return of full democracy in Venezuela: human rights, elections and no more political prisoners", Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said. We did not participate, none of us, at the inauguration of Maduro on January 10.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani added: "On behalf of the European Parliament, I would like to thank all countries that have already recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela".

Worldwide clamor for snap elections in Venezuela intensified Monday as European powers recognized opposition chief Juan Guaido as interim leader, after Nicolas Maduro rejected an ultimatum to call new polls.

They backed his argument that, as leader of the national assembly, he should take control because the presidency was left "vacant", due to 56-year-old Mr Maduro's sham re-election.

The Government, it said, will "completely revise bilateral relations with those countries from now on". In the past week, the leader has attended numerous exercises and spoken to soldiers, likely because of the major role the military will play in determining his future.

"I swear ... that I will defend with my life this fatherland under threat", Maduro said at an event in Aragua state in the north, commemorating the 27th anniversary of a failed coup by his late predecessor Hugo Chavez.

"The Bolivarian republic of Venezuela expresses its most energetic rejection of the decision by some European governments, which officially submit to the strategy of the US administration to topple the government", Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, tweeted.

The young lawmaker accused the military of planning to divert aid being stockpiled in Colombia, Brazil and an unidentified Caribbean island, in order to distribute it through the socialist government's subsidized food program for supporters.

If all European countries follow in the footsteps of the Trump Administration, their decision to recognise Guaido could potentially cut the Venezuelan Government off from any accounts or assets in those countries.

He said Maduro was seeking to move the money from the Venezuelan Economic and Social Development Bank to its branch in Uruguay and urged the Montevideo government "not to lend itself to stealing".

"The unity of positions in the modern and most influential foreign powers leaves Maduro isolated and weakened, and it strengthens Guaido's leadership internally", said Luis Vicente Leon, a political analyst and director of the Datanalisis polling agency.

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