European Powers Poised to Recognize Venezuela’s Juan Guaido

EU powers shifted toward the USA position Saturday with envoys of the United Kingdom and Germany saying the European Union would recognize Guaido as interim president unless a new election is called within eight days.

The Trump administration and more than a dozen other governments have recognized the main opposition leader in Venezuela, National Assembly President Juan Guaidó, as the country's legitimate interim president.

Mr Maduro has had the door slammed in his face by Canada, Australia, Israel and a host of Latin nations, including Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, who have all followed the United States lead and recognised Mr Guadio.

Nicolas Maduro's election to a six-year presidential term last year has been widely criticized as a fraud created to keep him and his military allies in power despite the country's years-long spiral into misery and hunger. He said European nations should leave Venezuela, if they so wanted.

The United States has condemned last year's Venezuelan election, in which Maduro won another term, as a charade that was neither free or fair.

Washington has threatened to intervene if any threats are made against American diplomats or Guaido, with President Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton warning any such actions will be met with "a significant response".

"I don't think any president of any party who is doing his or her job would be doing the job properly if they took anything off the table", he said. USA officials didn't immediately respond to requests for comment late Sunday.

Guaido said opposition sympathizers should take to the streets on Wednesday to pass out copies of a pamphlet proposing amnesty that would give some legal protection to members of the military in hopes they will turn against Maduro.

"It's time to be on the side of the Constitution", he said.

On Saturday, officials from the UK, Spain, Germany and France delivered Mr Maduro an ultimatum: Call elections within eight days or Mr Guaido will be recognised as president.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Sunday the department accepted the selection of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as Venezuela's Chargé d'Affaires to the United States.

In the U.S., Citgo's three Gulf Coast refineries have the capacity to process about 760,000 barrels of oil a day.

Countries such as Turkey, Cuba, Bolivia, Uruguay and Mexico - as well as Iran and North Korea - continue to recognise the 56 year-old Maduro.

The country's foreign ministry issued a statement saying that far-left President Nicolas Maduro was suspending the expulsion of USA diplomats, to allow for a 30-day window to negotiate with American officials.

The move to recognize Guaido by these European powers followed similar recognition by Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia last week.

National Constituent Assembly: Maduro convened the staunchly pro-government assembly after four months of opposition protests that left about 125 dead in 2017.

Maduro has stood firm in the face of demonstrations against his rule this week, winning the endorsement of key military leaders and vowing to defeat what he calls a US -backed coup against his government.

Maduro's top military attache in Washington, Col. Jose Luis Silva, declared loyalty Saturday to Guaido.

  • Tracy Klein