European Union nations get behind Venezuela's Juan Guaido as acting president
European Union nations get behind Venezuela's Juan Guaido as acting president
Venezuela's opposition chief Juan Guaido gives his thumb up to thousands of supporters in Caracas
05 February, 2019, 03:11
Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said the group wants to end Venezuela's political stalemate through the ballot box, preventing a civil war or an "illegitimate foreign intervention".
Sanchez told reporters "we are working for the return of full democracy in Venezuela", as Spain, France, and Sweden join countries that have recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation's interim president.
Key European leaders have overwhelmingly backed opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.
"We hope that this process can be carried out as quickly and peacefully as possible".
"Venezuela won't be governed from Madrid", he added.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt soon followed suit, announcing on Twitter that Britain, "alongside European allies now recognizes [Juan Guaido] as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held".
Venezuela's ambassador to Iraq, Jonathan Velasco, became the latest official to recognize opposition leader Guaido this weekend.
"I don't accept ultimatums from anybody", Maduro told Spanish TV channel La Sexta.
Guaido's backers say he is the legitimate leader because he is president of Venezuela's congress, which they regard as the only lawfully elected power in the country. "I tend to be an optimist; in this case, I do not have particularly positive expectations", European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters on Friday in Bucharest, as she announced the bloc could consider new sanctions against Maduro.
However, he supported plans for a meeting of Latin American and European Union states in a "Contact Group" meeting in Montevideo next Thursday. No mention was made of the current situation: millions of Venezuelans don't have enough to eat, there are massive shortages of basic medicines and the country's inflation rate is slated to rise to 10 million per cent this year.
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The situation has always been denounced by the opposition and Guaido stunned the world on January 23 when he declared himself acting president at a rally, declaring Maduro's presidency "illegitimate" and founded on flawed elections.
Over the weekend, he called on the army to allow in humanitarian aid from the United States via neighboring Colombia and Brazil.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke Sunday with Guaido, praising his "courage and leadership".
Canada has announced a humanitarian relief package for Venezuela.
"They have also chosen to side with Donald Trump and US foreign policy", CUPE said in a statement.
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.
On Sunday, Maduro addressed troops on military exercises, calling on them for "maximum cohesion".
Critics of the hard-left Socialist Maduro - who is accused of running the OPEC nation of 30 million people like a dictatorship and wrecking its economy - blame the Venezuelan government's mismanagement for the lack of food and medical supplies.
Most Lima Group members have said Maduro should quit in favour of Guaido and have called for a new election.
Forty people were killed in clashes with security forces in the week of protests coinciding with Guaido's self-proclamation as acting leader, with hundreds more arrested, according to the United Nations.
Western Hemisphere nations were set to add to the pressure Monday during a meeting in Canada of the Lima Group, which includes 13 countries that have been vocal in denouncing Maduro.
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