You are here

Back to top

European nations recognise Guaido as Venezuela's interim president

Monday, 4 February 2019

European nations recognise Guaido as Venezuela's interim president

APRNEWS - Spain, France, UK and Sweden announced Monday that they are recognising Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president after an eight-day deadline for President Nicolas Maduro to call elections were not met.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters in Madrid on Monday that: "We are working for the return of full democracy in Venezuela: human rights, elections and no more political prisoners."

"I recognise the president of Venezuela's assembly, Mr. Juan Guaido, as president in charge of Venezuela," Sanchez said in a televised statement.

This echoed the words of other Western European countries like France, after an eight-day deadline they set on January 26 for Maduro to call elections has not been met.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking Monday to France Inter Radio, urged Guaido to call an early presidential election that will ensure "the Venezuelan crisis ends peacefully".

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told Swedish broadcaster SVT the vote that brought Maduro to power was not a "free and fair election".

Britain echoed the move Monday with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt noting that, the "UK alongside European allies now recognises @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held", in a Twitter post.

Maduro has so far rejected calls by European countries to call an early election.

A defiant Maduro

In an interview with a Spanish TV station Sunday, a defiant Maduro said he would not "cave in to pressure" from those calling for his departure.

"Why does the European Union have to tell a country in the world that has already had elections that it has to repeat its presidential elections, because they were not won by their right-wing allies," said Maduro, interviewed in Caracas.

"They are trying to corner us with ultimatums to force us into an extreme situation of confrontation," Maduro said.

This comes as the European Union says that a newly formed "International Contact Group" of European and Latin American countries will hold its first meeting in Uruguay on Thursday to address the Venezuela crisis.

Trump says sending military ‘an option’

A joint statement from EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez on Sunday said that the meeting in Montevideo will be held at ministerial level.

The contact group includes the EU and eight of its member countries -- France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Britain -- as well as Latin American nations Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay.

Its stated aim is "contributing to create conditions for a political and peaceful process to emerge, enabling Venezuelans to determine their own future" through free and credible elections.

For his part, US President Donald Trump has said that sending the military to Venezuela was "an option" and that he had turned down Maduro's request for a meeting.

"Certainly, it's something that's on the - it's an option," Trump said in an interview with CBS to be broadcast on Sunday.

But Maduro, who has overseen an economic collapse and the exodus of millions of Venezuelans, still maintains the powerful backing of Russia, China and Turkey, and the critical support of the military.

Russia, a major creditor to Venezuela in recent years, quickly urged restraint.

"The international community's goal should be to help (Venezuela), without destructive meddling from beyond its borders," Alexander Shchetinin, head of the Latin America department at Russia's Foreign Ministry, told Interfax.

With AFP and Reuters