Madrid, London, Paris and several other European capitals recognised today opponent Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela after the expiration of an ultimatum issued to Nicolas Maduro who refused to call a new presidential election.
Spain – which has 167,000 nationals in Venezuela – Great Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal, joined Sunday by Austria, gave Nicolas Maduro an ultimatum expiring on Sunday for organising an early presidential election, failing which they would recognise Juan Guaido, 35, as president.
The United States, Canada and many Latin American countries, including Colombia and Brazil, have already recognised Juan Guaido, who had proclaimed himself acting president on the 23rd of January. The European Parliament had recognised the authority of Juan Guaido on Thursday and called on all EU countries to do the same.
The recognition of Juan Guaido by European countries might come as hypocritical considering these same countries have no issues with dealing with other dictators such as Egypt’s Sissi or Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS).
“They are trying to corner us with ultimatums to force us to come to an extreme situation of confrontation” declared despot Nicolas Maduro who was speaking from Caracas.
US President Donald Trump, for his part reaffirmed that the use of the US military in Venezuela was “an option” in an interview with the American television channel CBS.
Supported by the usual suspects, Russia, China, North Korea, Turkey and Cuba, Nicolas Maduro, 56, accuses the United States of orchestrating a coup.
An international contact group set up by the EU to help organize a “free, transparent and credible” presidential election is due to meet in Montevideo on Thursday, European Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini and Uruguayan President Tabaré Vazquez have announced.
The people of Venezuela, the oil-producing country and once the richest in Latin America, are facing severe food and drug shortages and runaway inflation. Since 2015, some 2.3 million of them have chosen exile over remaining in Venezuela, out of a total population of 31 million.