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

05 February, 2019, 04:53 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • UK recognises Juan Guaido as interim President of Venezuela

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez steps out of the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, September 12, 2018.

The United States recognised Guaido, who heads Venezuela's National Assembly, in late January when he declared himself the country's legitimate leader after maintaining that a presidential election a year ago was rigged to keep Maduro in power.

A masked anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail towards Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guardsmen who clashed with the small group of demonstrators when they tried to block a road after the group attended a peaceful demonstration called by self-declared interim president Juan Guaido, to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019.

Maduro is facing calls from a growing chorus of nations, including some of Venezuela's neighbours, to resign in the wake of last year's disputed presidential vote in which he won re-election.

Guaido thanked each European Union country in turn on Twitter "for supporting all Venezuelans in this struggle we undertake to rescue our nation's democracy, freedom and justice".

The political crisis in oil-rich Venezuela has provoked a worldwide split, with a US -led group of countries that have already recognized Guaido as interim president pitted against nations such as Russian Federation and China that support Maduro.

Canada and the Lima Group of more than a dozen North and South American countries have backed Guaido as the legitimate replacement for Maduro, who followed left-wing populist Hugo Chavez into Venezuela's presidency after Chavez's death in 2013.

"We warn Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against playing any role in bringing about regime change in another country".

Europe's support has not gone down well with Russian Federation, one of the first countries to throw its support behind Maduro as the crisis evolved. "We aren't going to hand Venezuela over", said the Venezuelan president.

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".

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Italy's 5-Star Movement, which makes up half of the ruling coalition, dissented from the European stance, saying it would never recognise self-appointed leaders.

Long-time backers Russian Federation and China are among at least nine nations that have declared their support for Maduro.

Russian Federation and China, who have poured billions of dollars of investment and loans into Venezuela, are supporting Mr Maduro in an extension of their geopolitical tussle with the United States.

In an interview that aired Monday with Italy's Sky TG24 he said that he had written Pope Francis asking for help in fostering dialogue with the opposition. Eleven of its members have recognised Guaido. It aims to address the crisis in Venezuela and is due to hold its first meeting in Uruguay on Thursday.

Venezuela's opposition has rejected any offers of dialogue that don't include Maduro's exit as a starting point.

The moves by European powers further isolate Maduro, who has already lost the recognition of a host of nations, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Israel.

"Soldiers of the fatherland: We need the humanitarian aid to come, for your mother, your sister and all your family", Guaido said at a news conference at the National Assembly to thank the European governments for their support. Speaking from Ottawa, U.K. Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan, said "Maduro and his socialism are entirely self-discrediting".

Guaido lost no time Monday in building on broadened worldwide support, with his fledgling alternative administration announcing February 14 talks in Washington on responding to "the largest hemispheric humanitarian crisis in modern history".

Maduro's critics have said incompetent policies and corruption have impoverished the once-wealthy nation, leaving it with widespread shortages of food and medicine and hyperinflation forecast to reach 10 million percent in 2019.

"We have seen versions of each", Lipton said on Twitter, "but rarely a combination as severe at this".

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