Kremlin stresses only Venezuelans themselves can find way out of crisis

Geraldine Edwards
February 5, 2019

"I tell Pedro Sanchez, God forbid, but if some day a coup takes place, your hands will be tainted with blood", he said.

"The oppression of the illegitimate, kleptocratic Maduro regime must end". Several of Washington's Latin American allies followed suit.

Despite the eternal pressure on Maduro, he maintains he will continue as president and also accused the United States of preparing a coup.

What started as a trickle has turned into a flow of European Union countries who have now officially declared Guaido as interim president.

Maduro accused Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, of having taken "a awful decision" in recognising Guaido.

"From today, we will spare no effort in helping all Venezuelans achieve freedom, prosperity and harmony", Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said as he announced Madrid had recognised Guaido, the head of Venezuela's National Assembly who declared himself last month to be the oil-rich South American country's interim ruler.

He said Spain, which has a sizable Venezuelan community, also is working on a humanitarian aid program for Venezuela, where shortages of basic items are acute.

Other EU states to support Guaido include Austria, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Portugal.

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"Venezuelans have the right to express themselves freely and democratically", French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

The political crisis in oil-rich Venezuela has provoked a worldwide split, with a US -led group of countries that have already recognized Guaido as interim president pitted against nations such as Russian Federation and China that support Maduro. "I hope we will have a positive answer [from him]", Maduro told Italian news channel SkyTg24.

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

A total of 13 European nations had joined in solidarity with Guaido, recognising him as president.

While U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said last week that boxes of USAID branded baby formula and supplies for malnourished children are being readied to deploy to Venezuela, it's not clear how they can safely enter.

Maduro started a new term in office last month after 2018 elections that were branded invalid by the opposition.

The European countries urged Guaido to hold free and fair elections as soon as possible.

Maduro is supporting plans for a meeting of Latin American and European Union states in "Contact Group" talks in Montevideo on Thursday.

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On Monday, oil prices rose to their highest level yet this year on European markets on the back of the crisis in Venezuela.

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.

"They have also chosen to side with Donald Trump and USA foreign policy", CUPE said in a statement.

Guterres said he was following the crisis in Venezuela "with a lot of concern", adding that he had discussed the various initiatives put forward with the countries involved.

Trump warned that military intervention remains "an option" for dealing with the crisis in Venezuela.

"As of yesterday, no presidential election had been called", Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to Tokyo.

Two opposition rivals with a good chance of winning were barred from standing, while food handouts and other subsidies to hungry Venezuelans were linked with political support.

Air Force General Francisco Yanez disavowed Maduro in a video this weekend, calling on members of the military to defect.

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