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European Countries Recognize Juan Guaidó as Interim President of Venezuela

Various European countries recognized Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela, a few weeks after Guaidó, President of the National Assembly, declared himself to be the new President of Venezuela.

The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Lithuania, and the Netherlands stated that they would recognize Guaidó as President of Venezuela if the call to snap elections were ignored.

Source:  BBC News

Source: BBC News

Nicolás Maduro responded to this demand via the Spanish television channel, La Sexta, “I do not accept ultimatums from anybody. Why should the European Union be giving ultimatums to a country?”

Venezuela, a country that has been governed by Maduro since 2013, is currently undergoing a major economic collapse and a period of mass exodus with three million Venezuelans having emigrated.

Source: AFP Archives/ France24

Source: AFP Archives/France24

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of the United Kingdom tweeted, “Nicolás Maduro has not called Presidential elections within 8 day limit we have set. So UK alongside European allies now recognises @jguaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. Let’s hope this takes us closer to ending humanitarian crisis.”

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain, a country with a large Venezuelan community, communicated over Twitter, “I recognize @jguaido as President in charge of Venezuela with a clear horizon: the calling of presidential elections that are free, democratic, with guarantees and without exclusions.”

The heads of states of various other countries made similar announcements over various platforms that their country would recognize Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela. Guaidó responded via Twitter to many of these heads of states, thanking these European countries for their support.

Nicolás Maduro’s presidency has been supported by Russia and Greece. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin of Russia, stated, “Attempts to legitimise usurped power [constitutes] interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs,” supporting the legitimacy of the Maduro presidency and denouncing other countries' support of Guaidó.

The SYRIZA Party of Greece also stated, “SYRIZA expresses its full support and solidarity with the legitimate President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, after yesterday’s move by opposition leader and president of the National Assembly of the country Juan Guaidó, to declare himself the interim President of the country, thus challenging the result of last May’s presidential election.”  

Foreign Minister Margot Wallstron of Sweden challenged Maduro’s claim of legitimacy by stating that the elections that extended Maduro’s presidency last year were neither free nor fair, and Venezuelans “now must get new, free, and fair elections instead.”

Italy has not expressed official support for either Maduro nor Guaidó due to a divide in Italy’s government, and has blocked the European Union from making a statement granting recognition to Guaidó on behalf of the entire Union.

The situation in Venezuela has garnered the world’s attention. It has also created a divide. In the meantime, the future of Venezuela remains still uncertain.