Published: Tue, February 05, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

United Kingdom and other European countries recognise Guaidó as Venezuela's leader

United Kingdom and other European countries recognise Guaidó as Venezuela's leader

The Venezuelan government has emphatically rejected European Union member states' decision to back opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president, saying Caracas will now revise its relationship with these countries.

The 14-nation so-called Lima Group, which includes Canada and Latin American countries such as Brazil and Mexico but not the United States, met in Ottawa to discuss the way forward on Venezuela. Moscow has labeled the attempts by other countries to legitimize the usurpation of power in Venezuela as meddling into the country's internal affairs, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"The Spanish government announces that it officially recognizes Venezuela's National Assembly president as acting president of Venezuela", Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters, urging Guaido to call elections quickly.

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.

"The coward government of Spain has made a awful decision in the history of relations between Spain and Venezuela". Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal also lined up behind Guaido, who last month declared himself interim president with the support of the United States and many South American nations.

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.

In power since former President Hugo Chavez's death in 2013, Maduro has been accused by critics of running the OPEC nation of 30 million people like a dictatorship.

Venezuela's foreign ministry announced a "review" Monday of its diplomatic relations with European Union states over their recognition of Guaido, saying they were effectively supporting plans for a coup.

"Soldiers, we continue to wait for you".

President Maduro described a potential military confrontation with the United States as "David against Goliath" struggle - one that Trump would regret.

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.

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.

He has defied European heads of state, calling them sycophants for following U.S. President Donald Trump.

But in the interview with Sexta, Maduro said he would not "cave in to pressure" from those calling for his departure.

The Lima Group's meeting comes amid massive protests in Venezuela pressing Maduro to go.

"Why would you want a repeat of Vietnam in Latin America?"

While speaking at a meeting of the Lima Group Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would provide $53 million to help the Venezuelan people.

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".

Mr. Trudeau also took the opportunity to recognize Mr. Guaido's representative to Canada, Orlando Viera-Blanco.

Under his stewardship, oil-dependent Venezuela has plunged into an economic crisis, suffering from hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.

On Monday, he accused Maduro of trying to illicitly transfer up to $1.2 billion from public coffers to a bank in Uruguay.

The Vatican didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Maduro's appeal.

Maduro blames Washington and other Western nations for sabotaging Venezuela's economy, including through sanctions.

Trump said US military intervention was under consideration in an interview with CBS aired on Sunday.

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